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‘Flavors of Princeton’ at the Princeton Public Library

January 13, 2012

The Princeton Public Library has a new monthly series called Flavors of Princeton. It showcases some of Princeton’s businesses in the food industry. The first talk took place on December 6, 2011 featuring Frank and Anna D’Angelo of D’Angelo Italian Market.

Chef Nino LoCasio  Of Yankee Doodle Tap Room

January’s talk highlighted Executive Chef Nino LoCasio of the Nassau Inn’s Yankee Doodle Tap Room, who demonstrated how to make two dishes. He prepared Fish en Papillote and ‘No More Winter Blues’ Grilled Cheese until the point just before baking/grilling. They even handed out the recipes.

Chef Nino LoCasio Making Fish en Papillote

Chef LoCasio started with the Fish en Papillote. En papillote translates to ‘in parchment’, which is the cooking method. He prepared tilapia, but mentioned that any flaky white fish or salmon could be used. He stacked sliced yellow squash, lemons, and red bell peppers on parchment paper, then added the fish, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and topped it with butter and olive oil. White wine can also be added. Next, he fold the parchment over the fish, then folded the ends around the fish forming a half-moon shape. It gets baked in a 375°F pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes. The fish will cook from the steam created, and the parchment should puff up like a balloon. It show be presented on a plate in the puffed parchment.

Chef Nino LoCasio at the Princeton Public Library

LoCasio’s second demo was his ‘No More Winter Blues’ Grilled Cheese Panini using cheeses from Olssens. He started out with sliced sour dough bread, and topped it with cheeses, thick bacon, and arugula. His assistant passed out two samples made earlier. The first was with Red Dragon (cheddar finished with ale and mustard seeds) and Wildspitz (rind washed, Swiss raw milk 95%cow and 5% goat), plus thick Applewood-smoked bacon. The second panini had a Quebec cheddar (aged 5 years) and smoked Gouda (semi-firm from cow milk) with the bacon.

We didn’t sample the fish, but let me tell you, the grilled cheese sandwiches were amazing. MY favorite was the first. The Red Dragon’s mustard flavor gave it a brightness that cuts the richness of the cheese, and the Wildstitz was stinky enough to have the amazing flavor I expect from a raw milk cheese and wasn’t overpowered by the Red Dragon.

Chef LoCasio has been at the Yankee Doodle Tap room for 8 months, so if you haven’t been there for a while, you should stop by to try his new menu. Olssens offers a very nice assortment of fine cheeses and is definitely worth the visit if you haven’t gone in yet. And the Princeton Public Library is still rocking quality programs! They’ll have the Savory Spice Shop, and I believe Tico’s along with a few other local businesses come in for the Flavors of Princeton series. Check their calendar under ‘Events’ for updates.

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