Lee Schrager shares Yotam Ottolenghi's chicken schnitzel on THE Dish

Lee Schrager is the ultimate foodie. He founded two of the country's top wine and food festivals, in New York and in South Beach. The Florida festival kicks off on Feb. 20, for its 13th year. The four-day, star-studded event will feature the best of the culinary world.

Special section: Food and wine

He started the South Beach festival when he was vice president of communications and national events at Southern Wine and Spirits of America.  Both festivals donate all revenue that they bring in.

The South Beach event donates to Florida International University and in New York they give their earnings to the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Schrager released his first cookbook, Food Network’s South Beach Food and Wine Festival Cookbook, in 2011. His next book, Fried and True, will be released in 2014. As with the South Beach Festival all profits from the cookbook are donated.

Schrager’s first culinary job was working a take-out counter at a Chinese restaurant and he then studied at the Culinary Institute of America and The School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University.

Recipes from “Fried and True” by Lee Schrager with Adeena Sussman

Yotam Ottolenghi's seeded chicken schnitzel with parsley-caper mayonnaise

For the parsley and caper mayonnaise:

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup sunflower oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 cups loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon salt-packed capers

For the chicken:

4 skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 lbs. total), each piece cut into 3 long strips

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

3 tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (or extra white, if not available)

2 tablespoons flaxseed

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds, roughly crushed

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1. Make the mayonnaise: place the egg yolk, mustard, garlic, and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor. Process on high, and then add the oil in a slow stream until all of the oil is fully incorporated and the mayonnaise is thick. Add the sugar, parsley and capers and blend 5 more seconds to incorporate. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.

2. Make the schnitzel: working one piece at a time, place the chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently flatten each piece with a rolling pin, until it is just under 1/2 inch thick (don't worry if the schnitzels aren't perfectly uniform). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

3. Make the flour and panko dredges: in a medium bowl whisk the flour with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl whisk the panko, the black and white sesame seeds, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour and gently shake off the excess. Dip the floured chicken in the beaten egg, and then in the seed mix to coat well. Store the breaded pieces on the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.

4. Fry the chicken: in a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Working on batches, fry the chicken until golden brown, flipping once, 4 to 5 minutes total. Drain the chicken on paper towels and serve hot with the caper mayonnaise on the side.

Michelle Bernstein’s watermelon salad

1  1 3/4-pound wedge watermelon, rind removed and cut into medium dice (about 4 cups)

2  large beefsteak tomatoes (1 1/4 pounds), seeded and cut into small dice (about 2 cups)

1 large English hothouse cucumber (3/4 pound), peeled and cut into small dice

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tbsp torn dill, uncut

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 pinch garlic powder

1 pinch onion powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large bowl combine the watermelon, tomato, cucumber, feta, and dill

2. In a small bowl whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic powder and onion powder; season with salt and pepper to taste

3. Drizzle half the vinaigrette over the salad and toss very gently

4. Add the remaining dressing to taste and gently toss again

Arnold’s Country Kitchens fried green tomatoes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups cornmeal (seasoned with salt and pepper)

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 cups apple juice

5 egg whites

1 dash of Tabasco

3 green (unripe, not ripe heirloom) tomatoes (about 1 pound), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds vegetable oil, for frying

1. In a shallow bowl combine the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a second bowl combine the seasoned cornmeal, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a third bowl, whisk the apple juice, egg white, Tabasco, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt together.

2. Coat the tomato slices in the flour, shaking off excess, then dip in the juice-egg white mixture. Dip the eggy slices into the cornmeal-basil mixture.

3. Heat 1/4 inch oil in a cast-iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Fry until the slices are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve hot or at room temperature.

The Loveless Cafe's hash brown casserole

1 30-ounce  bags shredded refrigerated hash brown potatoes, defrosted if frozen

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

1 8-ounce bag shredded cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)

1 10 3/4-ounce can cream of chicken soup

1 16-ounce container sour cream

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish and set aside. In a large bowl combine all ingredients until well mixed.

2. Place in a casserole dish and bake, covered with tin foil, until the edges begin to brown, about 30 minutes.

3. Remove the tinfoil and continue to bake until completely golden brown, an additional 30 to 40 minutes.

Mary Mac's Tea Room tomato pie

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed by hand or in a food processor (about 2 1/2 crushed cups)

2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice

2 cups mayonnaise 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces)

Grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (or domestic parmesan cheese)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with oil and set aside. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crushed crackers, then scatter 1 cup of the remaining crackers in the bottom of the baking dish.

3.  Pour 1 can of the tomatoes, juice included, over the crackers. Layer half the onions on top of the tomatoes; repeat the layering with the remaining can of tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cracker crumbs over the top onion layer.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cheddar, parmesan and basil. Spread over the top of the layers and top with the reserved 1/2 cup cracker crumbs.

5. Bake the pie until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Nigella Lawson’s caramel croissant pudding

2 stale croissants

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 large eggs, beaten

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Tear the croissants into pieces and place them in a small gratin dish.

2. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and swirl around to help dissolve the sugar before placing the saucepan on the burner over medium to high heat.

3. Caramelize the mixture by letting it bubble away for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it turns a deep amber color. Keep looking but don't be too timid.

4. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream - ignoring all spluttering - and, whisking, the milk and bourbon. Any solid toffee that forms in the pan will dissolve easily if you keep whisking over low heat. Take the pan off the heat and, still whisking, add the beaten eggs.

5. Pour the caramel-bourbon custard over the croissants, and if the croissants are very stale, let the pudding stand for 10 minutes to steep. 6. Bake the pudding for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and prepare to swoon.

Loews Miami Beach Hotel’s Classic Mojito

6 lime wedges

6 large fresh mint leaves

1/2 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled until the sugar has dissolved, then cooled)

Ice cubes

3 ounces light rum

Club soda

Sugarcane stick, for garnish

1.  In a cocktail mixing tin, muddle 5 of the lime wedges, the mint, and the syrup. Cover with ice and add the rum. Cover and shake.

2. Pour the drink into a highball glass, top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge and the sugarcane.

  • Shoshana Davis

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