Florida Recipes: 10 Recipes from the Sunshine State
These easy Florida recipes will put you in a tropical mood!
Many people seem to have a rosy view of the Sunshine State. They envision that the lives of Floridians consist entirely of lounging by the pool, strolling on the beach, plucking oranges from trees, and sunbathing in the never-ending summer. Of course, life in Florida is much more normal than that--people have jobs, children, commutes, and responsibilities like anywhere else in the United States. But one thing that people generally get right about the Sunshine State is the high-quality food. Florida recipes are the best!
Florida is truly a haven for interesting cuisine. Geographically, it's situated right beneath the American South, nestled side-to-side with the Caribbean (so much so that "Floribbean cuisine" is a real thing), and just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Central America. That means that Floridian food is a melding of many different cultures, all with wonderful takes on food.
Floridian Entree Recipes
Floridians definitely love to eat. Featuring heavy amounts of citrus and standard Floridian produce, these Floridian entree recipes will give you a great glimpse of Floridian food culture.
Ask any Floridian expatriate what they miss about Florida, and the answer, right up there with "the weather," will probably be "Cuban delis." Florida boasts a massive amount of Cuban immigrants, and they brought with them their mouthwatering recipes, which Florida happily made its own. These Cuban Sliders, complete with seasoned, melt-in-your-mouth pork, are a good start. Don't forget the mustard!
Admit it--when you think "Florida," you think "oranges." And for good reason! Any good Floridian tasting menu needs to make use of that classic citrus fruit. This one-pan skillet recipe makes use of a great orange glaze. Why pork, you ask? Well, pork is the closest protein to alligator. Some say that alligator is the culinary relative of chicken, and although it's true that alligator does taste slightly of poultry, the texture is all wrong. The firmness of this perfect pork tenderloin is a great copycat for alligator meat.
Kabobs are the perfect tropical dinner, and this recipe makes use of plenty of classic Floridian flavors--notably, coconut and lime. Picnics at Lakes Park in Fort Myers, Florida, often feature kabobs roasted over the grill with chunks of pineapple. This is the perfect dinner for a lazy summer night.
Florida Seafood Recipes
No survey of Floridian food is complete without seafood. It's the lifeblood of Floridian cuisine. On certain days, when you drive over one of the many bridges in Florida, the water is an expanse of shrimping sailboats as far as the eye can see. From rock shrimp to conch, Floridians love eating out of the ocean.
If there's one thing Floridians love to do with seafood, it's frying it, especially conch and abalone. If you want to experience deep-Panhandle cuisine, you need to try these Conch Fritters with Mustard Sauce. They feature a generous amount of cayenne and, of course, Old Bay Seasoning.
Just like with Cuba, Floridian food is closely tied to Panama. Ceviche, which is typically made of raw fish cured in citrus juices, is a spicy dish that is served at just about any beachfront restaurant in Florida. Enjoy this make-ahead seafood recipe!
Lobster is essential to Florida seafood. In the Florida Keys, spiny lobster season is a huge, huge deal. The spiny lobster, also known as the Florida lobster, has no pinching claws, and its sweet white tail meat is highly coveted. If you can get ahold of any in your local markets, you should give it a try in this surf and turf recipe.
Classic Florida Desserts
Floridian desserts are all about freshness and, of course, citrus. Okay, that's a little predictable, but it pays off beautifully. With all of this beautiful fruit at their fingertips, Floridians can't help but take advantage of it and turn it into tart and sweet desserts.
This is it--the moment you've been waiting for. We have here a perfect slice of light green, traditional Key Lime Pie. Key limes are known for being particularly aromatic and floral. If you've ever made Key lime pie from the green powder that they sell in grocery stores, you don't know what real Key lime pie is like. It's like the difference between a candle and a bonfire. You'll love this sweet, sour, creamy Best Key Lime Pie.
Enjoy food from the Sunshine State right in your own kitchen with these delicious Florida Mango Mini Tarts! Lime-accented mango coupled with flaky puff pastry makes for one of the tastiest Floridian dessert recipes ever. Who says you have to be on a beach to savor the fruity flavors of a sweet mango dessert?
Of course, what is Floridian food without pina coladas? This Island Breeze Pina Colada Pie will make you want to get caught in the rain. This easy pie recipe's usage of coconut rum will transport you back to the days when Florida was owned by Spain and the Caribbean was fraught with pirates. This is one pie you'll make again and again.
Do you have a favorite food memory from any vacations you've taken? Let us know in the comments!