Mixed Seafood Moqueca

September 30, 2010

SushiSamba Dromo, Miami

This sumptuous dish was stolen with permission from Assistant Corporate Chef Fernando Navas of SushiSamba Dromo in Miami, which boasts inventive interpretations of dishes from Japan, Brazil and Peru. When you make this at home you will make you feel like you’re on vacation, wherever you are!

At the turn of the century, thousands of Japanese émigrés traveled to South America to cultivate coffee plantations and find their fortune. In bustling cities like Callao and Lima in Peru, and São Paulo in Brazil, the integration of Japanese and South American cultures flourished. A hundred years later, this diverse blend of ethnicities still thrives. In fact, Brazil boasts the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan.

It was this lively cultural co-existence that inspired Shimon Bokovza to create the first SushiSamba in 2000. SushiSamba Dromo opened in Miami Beach in 2001 and there are 6 restaurants so far with two locations New York; and others in Chicago, Las Vegas and also Tel Aviv, Israel.

The menu at SushiSamba offers inventive fare uniting the bold Brazilian flavors, precise Japanese techniques and Peruvian culinary traditions on one plate. The restaurant’s signature Sashimi Seviches are excellent examples of this cultural union. A traditional dish of Peru, seviche is created when fish enzymatically cooks by sitting in an acid like lemon or lime juice. After about twenty minutes, the acid “cooks” the fish, giving the same effect that heat has on proteins. At SushiSamba the fish marinates for mere minutes – more reminiscent of Japanese sashimi, yet is prepared with Peruvian flavor and technique. Examples include Tuna Sashimi Seviche with orange, jalapeño, yuzu and white soy, and Yellowtail Sashimi Seviche with ginger, garlic and soy.

There are also samples of traditional Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian dishes, including traditional Brazilian Churrasco and Feijoada, a variety of Anticuchos, (a traditional Peruvian street food of skewered meats, marinated in different sauces and roasted over an open fire), and a full service sushi bar that features Japanese tempura.

The inventive “samba rolls” are by far one of the most popular choices at SushiSamba and are another example of the Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian triumvirate. For example, SushiSamba’s signature Lobster Tempura Roll with peanut-curry sauce, leafy greens, cucumber & lobster claw tempura. Or another playful interpretation of the traditional sushi roll, the Rainbow Dragon, which brings together eel, red bell pepper, cucumber, mango & avocado.

Desserts and drinks also get the multi cultural treatment – with Caipirinhas from Brazil and Pisco Sours from Peru.

The interior of every SushiSamba is created to evoke images of Brazil’s annual Carnaval, using mango, rich red, lime and gold colors. Bubble-shaped lights fill the ceiling while deep banquets are upholstered in warm reds and Amazon greens. Surrounded by mahogany wood and encased in glass, the sushi bar is the centerpiece of each restaurant.

SushiSamba Dromo features outdoor dining beneath grand orange umbrellas on Lincoln Road, one of South Beach’s premier shopping and sightseeing areas. The patio is located on either side of the street and guests can groove to the Brazilian beat in an indoor lounge where a large movie screen rolls down from the ceiling nightly, providing a backdrop of subtitled Brazilian and Japanese movies.

About the chef: Fernando Navas has risen through the ranks at SushiSamba to become Assistant Corporate Chef. Born and raised in Argentina, Fernando’s culinary acumen in South American cooking techniques fits perfectly with the restaurant’s signature fare.

Fernando began his professional journey during an intense culinary training program at the Escuela de Gastronomia in Mar del Plata, Argentina. This popular tourist destination is renowned for its pristine beaches and impeccable seafood. He later made the leap to Miami and began embarking on an international career at Grass Restaurant and Lounge. Fernando then joined the team at Nobu Miami and it was there that he branched out to catering celebrity events, as well as restaurant promotions in Caracas, Venezuela, and contributed to the opening of Nobu Paradise Island in 2006.

Recently, Fernando was the recipient of a prestigious externship at elBulli; Ferran Adria’s world-renowned restaurant in Spain. Only 50 chefs are selected from over 6,000 applicants to gain first-hand experience cooking with the master chef.

As an Assistant Corporate Chef, Fernando oversees the development and improvement of cuisine at all the Sushisamba locations and is an integral part of their new ventures.

Chef Fernando’s outlook is, “to execute simplicity well, you really have to know what you are doing - it is one of the hardest things to achieve brilliantly.”

Please note: this recipe calls for Dende Oil which is red palm oil and can be purchased at specialty stores on online. Alternatively you can use annatto seeds and canola oil – infusing the seeds in the oil a few hours ahead of time to impart the same red color to the dish.

SushiSamba Dromo
600 Lincoln Road 
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305 673 5337

Mixed Seafood Moqueca is served at SushiSamba Dromo for $25. 
This recipe makes 1 restaurant serving.

Mixed Seafood Moqueca Ingredients:
3 mussels 
3 clams
3 shrimp 
¼ cup squid 
¼ cup fresh cod or sea bass
1 whole crayfish 
1 crayfish tail
2 tablespoons white onion diced 
¼ cup chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
¼ cup okra sliced 
2 tablespoons diced red tomato 
½ cup coconut milk 
¼ cup fish or shellfish stock 
2 tablespoons dende oil (or canola oil infused with annatto seeds)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup cooked rice
2 small handfuls of toasted cashews, chopped 
2 tablespoons scallions for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting dish and roast them until they are just golden brown.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a medium sized sauté pan heat the oil until smoking point and add the mussels, clams, shrimp, onions, cod or sea bass, crayfish tail, whole crayfish, tomato, okra and garlic. Cook over high heat for 1 minute or until mussels and clams start to open up, then reduce the heat and cover with a lid until all the mussels and clams have opened.
De-glaze the pan with the stock and add the coconut milk and cilantro. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the squid and lime juice and check for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed.
Pour into your favorite casserole dish, garnish with toasted cashews and sliced scallions.
Serve over rice.