Chef James Cawley
Chef James Cawley came to Shooters Waterfront last year.
Chef James, who was also named culinary director of the 3033 Group – which includes Grateful Palate Catering and Events and Shooters – brings 25 years of culinary experience to the table.
As culinary director, he’s in charge of on-site events at The Grateful Palate venue and off-site catering events in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as events held at Shooters.
We asked him a few questions about his own culinary style and about what makes Shooters Waterfront such an enduring landmark.
Q: What is your style of cooking?
A: I enjoy making food that everyone loves and enjoys. My style of cooking is a mix of Southern and Floridian with all of the spices and herbs I like to include in my dishes.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the recipe?
A: The inspiration behind my recipe was color, flavor and adding that wow factor for everyone to enjoy. I decided to cook the grouper fish because it is a great mix of Florida with a Caribbean flare.
Q: Describe the Shooters Waterfront kitchen.
A: The Shooters Waterfront kitchen is an atmosphere filled with energetic, creative and hard-working chefs and staff who are always enthusiastic about serving thousands of our customers who come near and far to dine and experience our delicious menu for lunch, dinner and brunch.
Q: Why do you think Shooters is one of the most popular spots in Fort Lauderdale?
A: It spans … three different generations of people who’ve attended Shooters Waterfront. Your grandparents met here, your parents met here and now you’re getting a chance to experience what they’ve lived through and has been a part of their first times like first dates, engagements, celebrating numerous birthdays and holidays together, and other special occasions.
Q: What do you think sets Shooters apart from other local restaurants?
A: Our passion for excellence and our passion for all of our guests sets us apart. We are determined to guarantee that guests have nothing to worry about while dining with us, and they’re able to sit back and enjoy our relaxed, gorgeous Intracoastal view and delicious food. We make sure to provide great customer service, and build real relationships with them, too.
James Cawley’s Florida Grouper
For Corn Crema
- 8 oz shallots
- 16 oz green peppers
- 32 oz carrots
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 64 oz heavy cream
- 32 each fresh corn, bodies and shucked
- Salt and pepper
Sweat shallots, peppers, carrots and corn hulls. Add stock and reduce by half. Add cream and reduce by half. Strain, add corn kernels and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
For Guajillo Glaze
- 4 oz guajillo dried chiles
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup honey
Toast the chiles just until you smell the aroma for about one to two minutes. Take the stem off, deseed the chiles. Mix both ingredients together and refrigerate. Soak chiles in warm water for about 45 minutes. Blend in water with honey.
For Purple Peruvian Mashed Potato
- 2 Peruvian potatoes
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 oz butter
- Salt and pepper
Peel potatoes and cut in uniform pieces. Put in a pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer until cooked and soft to the touch. Heat the cream, milk and butter together until the butter is melted (do not boil). Strain the potatoes and let dry on a sheet tray, then pass through the food mill or smash very well. In a bowl, carefully fold in the milk, cream, butter and salt and pepper.
For Roasted Corn Tomato Relish
- 4 oz heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup roasted corn
- 1 oz julienne shallots
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tbsp minced garlic
- Salt and pepper
Add all ingredients together and marinate for an hour.
For Florida Grouper
- 2 each grouper, 8 oz portions
- 1/2 cup purple mash
- 2 oz corn crema
- 1/4 cup roasted corn
- tomato relish
- 2 tbsp guajillo glaze
- Canola oil to sauté
- Micro greens for garnish
Season grouper with salt and pepper on both sides. Sauté pan hot with a little oil to coat. Sear the grouper on each side, flip back skin side down on the pan and finish in oven at 350 degrees for about five to six minutes (the thicker the cut, the longer). About halfway through cooking, spread the glaze on the grouper. When grouper has been cooked, add the hot mash to the plate, surround with the hot corn crema sauce, top with relish and garnish with the micro greens.
Deputy Chief, Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department
For firefighters, mealtime is an important time, and something that’s traditionally kept in-house. When you’re cooking dinner for everybody in a fire station, there are a few details that don’t come up in other kitchens. One big one: When a call comes in, you can’t exactly say you’ll be there as soon as you’re done cooking dinner.
“You have to modify everything you cook so that you can turn it off and then turn it back on when you get back without ruining it,” Fort Lauderdale deputy fire chief Timothy Heiser says. And don’t get him started on what grocery shopping is like when you might be called away at any moment.
“I can walk through a Publix and be like, ‘I need this, this, this’; I know where everything’s at,” Heiser says. “It’s really difficult to get stuff back to the station. When you’ve got perishables, you’ve got that in the back of your mind.
“We’ve lost many a gallon of ice cream on the way back.”
In a fire station kitchen there are, Heiser says, a few ironclad rules. For one, the cook never cleans. It doesn’t matter what your rank is, you bus your own dishes. Nobody gets served; it’s not a restaurant. All the dishes, pots and pans get put away. Often you’ll open the door of a firehouse fridge and see plates with napkins on top. Respect that.
“That’s the universal symbol for ‘I’m out on a call, and I’d like my food to still be here when I get back’.”
In terms of the food, the main rule is: It needs to be good. If it’s your turn to do the cooking, don’t think you can just throw together any old thing. Spaghetti with canned sauce and frozen meatballs – no. Hot dogs? Uh-uh. Packaged stuff you just heated up? Raise your game.
“The guys are real quick to call you out,” Heiser says. “If you screw up, you’re going to hear about it.”
Beyond that, it’s the tricky business of keeping a big room happy.
“I grew up in a big family, seven people,” Heiser says. “As opposed to pleasing seven people, you’re pleasing 18 to 22.”
They might be from different places, different backgrounds, different diets.
“And you get one guy out of 18 people who says ‘Oh, I don’t like onions.’”
Typically successful dishes have a solid, functional, universal quality to them.
“You could have anything,” Heiser says. “And it depends what station you’re at.
“A lot of it changed with the internet – if I want to make Bang Bang Shrimp from the internet, I can Google it.”
Budget also comes into it. The rule is $20 per day per firefighter, and that has to cover lunch, dinner and a snack. That money goes fast. When you shop for a family this big every three days, Heiser says, you learn how to keep costs down. If you’re the cook, you’ve got to be on budget.
Holidays can get bigger – Thanksgiving, Christmas or the Super Bowl tend to bring out the feasts.
Then there’s Sunday. It’s probably not anybody’s favorite day to work –but in a fire station, there are perks.
“It’s always a good day to be at work – lots of bacon, sausage biscuits and gravy, pancakes that will range anywhere from regular to blueberry to chocolate chip to bananas,” Heiser says.
Timothy Heiser’s Chicken Pepperoni
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- Olive oil
- 2 chopped onions
- 24 or so slices of pepperoni
- 2 or 3 chopped pepperoncini (Use more or less, depending on preference.)
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 14 oz jar of tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese
Coat chicken in flour and brown in pan with olive oil. Add all of the ingredients together and simmer on low heat while you are boiling rigatoni. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parmesan cheese on side and garlic bread.
Former NHL defenseman, current Panthers broadcaster and team Vice President of Broadcasting & Alumni
Hockey works up an appetite. An entire nine-month season of NHL hockey? That requires some substantial refueling. Take Florida Panthers star center Vincent Trocheck. When he heads home in the off-season, he’s got a favored menu item for bulking back up after a season of toil.
“My grandma makes great stuffed peppers,” he says. “My mom makes them once a week for me when I’m home during the summer; it helps me put some weight on in the summer.”
Former players don’t have quite the same needs. Former Panther and native of Red Deer, Alberta, Randy Moller was known during his playing days as a tough, hard-working defenseman. In 1995, Moller concluded a 14-year NHL career. Most of that time was spent with the old Quebec Nordiques, but he finished here with the Panthers – and he’s held roles in the Panthers’ front office and broadcast booth since. Today, Panthers fans know him as Fox Sports Florida’s “between the benches” reporter – the guy who delivers ice-level commentary during games from a tiny perch between the Panthers and opposition benches.
“My family and I are comfort food connoisseurs,” he says. “Hearty meals consisting of meat [or] fowl plus starches and fresh vegetables sides.”
Moller was a meat-and-potatoes player and he likes, well, meat-and-potatoes dishes. His favorite foods are also very much influenced by where he’s from.
“Growing up in western Canada, our family was blessed with fresh gardens, bountiful livestock farms, and creative family members clashing and mixing recipes from Germany, France, South America and even the Caribbean islands,” he says.
It was something he picked up and these days, he’s often the one working the oven in the Moller house.
“I usually take the lead in cooking, my favorite hobby,” he says. “The heavier the dish, the better!”
This particular dish definitely meets all heaviness requirements. But Moller also sees it as a diverse dish, suitable for cold Red Deer nights or hot South Florida afternoons.
“The marriage of the shank au jus and saffron injected risotto, plus fall-off-the-bone veal creates a mouthwatering dining experience in only three short hours prep time,” he says. “Paired with a California Pinot Noir and Bibb lettuce apple salad with a tart lemon/raspberry drizzle dressing and chopped walnuts, this meal can be enjoyed in the dead of winter months, or a hot summer evening on the pool deck.
One tip he suggests if you have the time: Marinate the veal shanks in Cuban marinade overnight. Also, use high quality chicken broth when available, and sweet (not red) onions.
And finally, he suggests something else that he understands not everybody will be into.
“Most dinner guests are not interested, but [for] those who partake, the veal bone marrow is a special treat,” he says. “The mineral/fatty marrow texture is the secret to long life!”
Randy Moller’s Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto
- 2 lbs large veal shanks, cut short
- Fresh rosemary/thyme/basil spices
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley
- 2/3 cup cheap dry white wine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 sweet (not red) onion
- 1 can tomatoes
- 2/3 cup chicken broth
Melt butter in a large skillet. After dusting the shanks with flour, add them to the skillet and cook until browned. Add onion and garlic to the skillet, stir until tender. Place shanks and wine into the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat for 90 minutes. In a bowl, mix 1 clove of garlic, spices, lemon zest and parsley. Sprinkle over meat just before serving. Serve with Italian risotto rice, Indian saffron, and fresh grated parmesan cheese.
Spinach, Tomato, Feta, Mushroom Crustless Quiche
by Amanda Schubert
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 diced white onion
- 1 small container of sliced mushrooms
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- Fresh baby spinach, about 2 bags
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp thyme
- Lots of crumbled feta cheese
- Salt & pepper
- 1 package cherry/grape tomatoes
Grease a pie pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the diced onion and sliced mushrooms in the butter and garlic over medium heat until softened. Add spinach to the onion mixture and cook until just wilted. Once spinach is wilted, place entire contents of the sauté pan onto a cutting board and roughly/coarsely chop. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, thyme, feta, salt, and pepper. Add the spinach/onion/mushroom mixture to the bowl and stir together. Pour entire mixture into the pie pan (*would also work in ramekins for individual servings). Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add face down on top of the mixture. Bake in oven for about 45-60 minutes, until quiche is set/not soupy.
by Brad McCoy
- 1 avocado
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 English muffin; sliced in half
- 1/4 cup of tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup of mild banana peppers, diced
- 1/2 tsp of smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/2 tsp of Florida pepper
- 1/2 tsp of 4/S sea salt
- Bacon, chopped (optional)
I started making this on the weekends for me and the girlfriend. Then our family and friends would visit us here in Florida and she would brag about Eggs Rossi so this is why we have an unlimited stock of avocados and eggs in the casa. But it is a quick meal to make and you can add a variety of other ingredients to the avocado mix, hence the added bacon bits or use different types of bread to toast. I play around with it every time and the girlfriend says it gets better and better each time. All and all it keeps you full all day and is a great meal before a workout…or after a long night of being out.
In a small to medium size mixing bowl, combine the avocado, tomatoes, banana peppers and the three spices (I use Penzys Spices because they are my favorite and you can have them delivered). In a small non-stick frying pan on medium heat, crack an egg. Cook the egg to your liking. We like ours over easy. Crack some peppercorn along with a quick dash of smoked Spanish paprika before flipping. Slice in half and toast the English muffin. Smear the avocado on one half of the toasted muffins. Add bacon bits, top with the over easy egg and enjoy. Repeat for the other one. Goes great with some sliced bananas, mixed fruit and a cup of coffee. And if you make it as good as I do, it will keep your significant other happy all day.
Roasted Leg of Spring Lamb
by Sheri Mallabar
- 1 leg of lamb, about 5 lbs
- 3 bulbs of garlic
- 3 Meyer lemons
- Fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1 tsp of crushed red chili flakes
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp of caraway seeds
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp of dried mint leaves
Leg of Lamb
Tie leg of lamb. Score the fat and rub Harissa Paste (recipe below) over it. Season generously with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Drizzle it with olive oil and let it rest to room temperature.
Cut two bulbs of garlic and two Meyer lemons in half and layer them in the bottom of the pan with some rosemary. Put the lamb on top of the garlic and lemons. Peel one head of garlic and chop four sprigs of rosemary, and sprinkle it over the lamb. Cover tightly with foil and put it in an oven preheated to 500 degrees. Leave in for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees. It will cook for 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours (we eat it medium rare). Let it rest for 20 minutes out of the oven before you cut it.
Using a pestle and mortar, mix four tablespoons of olive oil with one tsp of sea salt, one tsp of crushed red chilli flakes, one tsp of garlic powder, one tsp cumin, one tsp of caraway seeds, one tsp coriander, one tsp of dried mint leaves. Add more oil as needed.
by Erin Mia Milchman
- 2 precooked flatbreads (we used Naan)
- 2 medium purple onions
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon (we used Lucky’s smoked in-house peppered bacon)
- 2–3 oz sheep’s milk feta cheese
- 1 dried Turkish fig
- 1 bunch baby arugula
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts
- 1 1/2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white truffle oil
- White wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Pecorino-Romano cheese
Slice onions thinly and place in a sauté pan on medium-low heat with about three turns of olive oil. Stir every few minutes until soft, brown and sweet. *Note: This can take up to an hour to do correctly, so pour yourself a glass of wine and put on your patience cap. If onions start to burn or smoke, turn down the heat and deglaze with a splash of chicken broth.
Place two strips of bacon on a half sheet pan (cookie sheet) in a 350 degree oven. We like extra thick-cut peppered bacon, but you can use pancetta or regular bacon. Just adjust cooking time accordingly. Turn the bacon in its own fat after about five minutes. (less if traditional bacon). Joey loves bacon, so I cook up a pound of it and keep it in the fridge for breakfast and sandwiches. It’s not as bad for us as we once thought, and one piece kicks up any salad or sandwich a few notches. When they’re done, slice them into cubes.
Ok, let’s talk feta cheese. I love feta. I mean, I love cheese in just about every form, but feta is heaven. Salty, soft, tangy, milky…yummmmmo. …and there’s feta, and then there’s FETA. Skip the grocery store brand, the deli brand and pretending to be Greek brand. Go straight to your local gourmet grocer and ask for sheep’s milk feta. It’s important that it remain in the brine that it’s packed in, so don’t pour it out.
Now, slice off about three thumb-sized thicknesses and put one on a plate. That’s for you to snack on. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with Greek oregano (I’ll let you in on that secret later) and a bit of crushed red pepper. The other two slices will be crumbled on the flatbreads.
Assemble your flatbreads by spooning the caramelized onion, feta and bacon equally on each. Pop into a 425 degree oven until the bread is charred and the feta is soft and melting. If you’re not as huge a fan of feta as I am, you can substitute ricotta cheese, or a combination of the two here.
While your flatbreads are cooking, let’s make the dressing.
The flavor of white truffle oil, depending on its quality, can be very strong. We suggest adding a few drops at a time if you’re a first-timer. Otherwise, pour two tablespoons into a small glass bowl and let’s get this party started!
Add olive oil (only the best here…no skimping for salads), champagne vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Taste it…stick your pinky finger in there and and then stick it in your mouth. It is YUM? Great! Add the walnuts and figs, both coarsely chopped, and then toss your greens (make sure they’re washed and dried thoroughly) with it.
If it doesn’t taste absolutely delicious, try adjusting the salt and/or olive oil.
Now, remove your flatbreads from the oven. They should be hot and crispy. Let them sit for just a minute to cool slightly. We want them warm, but not screaming hot or the arugula will wilt and your guests will burn their mouths. When you’re ready, add the greens to the top of the flatbreads and grate a bit of pecorino on top. One more grind of fresh black pepper and you’re off to the races!
Cut into triangles and serve. Enjoy!
Remember to always use organic whenever possible. Locally sourced, sustainable and cruelty-free.