There really is no one way to describe Florida cuisine. If you live near or around Miami, Cuba has a big influence in the food world. If you're a Panhandle resident, Southern cuisine makes up most of your meals. Through the years, these two communities have come together somewhat and even made room for some new food on the table.
As the Jewish population grew in the 1900s, more and more Jewish food restaurants started popping up. Together, this blending of cultures help to define Florida cuisine.
"Florida cuisine is define by its inhabitants, its geographic location as the southern-most state and its close proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America," explains Ricky Gopeesingh, Executive Chef at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa.
"Fresh seafood dishes can be found on menus across the state with strong Southern influences in the north, and Floribbean cuisine reigning in the central and southern parts of the state."
No matter where you are in Florida, though, freshness is key. "Due to the fact that Florida does not experience the seasonal weather patterns as most other states, the cuisine tends to have a lighter, refreshing flavor profile year-round."
Still, there are a few dishes that are quintessentially the 'Sunshine State'. "Citrus, for one," says Chef Ryan Fredstrom, executive chef at The Perry Hotel Key West at Stock Island Marina, which is set to open this April. "Additionally, strawberries, melons and tropical fruits like mango, papaya and jackfruit define the flavors of Florida."
Chef Gopeesingh adds, "Stone Crabs and Florida Spiny Lobster Tails are two unique food items that can only be found in Florida."
Chef Fredstrom looks to the sea, too, when menu planning: "Key West Pink Shrimp are always a sweet treat -- fresh, local and delicious. They come in right at our docks!"
So, what would Florida in one meal look like? The chefs gave us their thoughts and with that information, we put together the ultimate Florida meal.
Key Lime Martini
Key limes are not just for the Florida Keys. They are so popular in Florida that they are used in everything up and down the state from pies to this delicious cocktail.
Get the recipe here.
Rum runners are really popular in Florida. They were said to have been invented in the 1950s at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida.
Get the recipe here.
The Appetizers + Sides
Ceviche and raw seafood dishes are particularly popular in Floridian cuisine.
Chef Ricky offered up his version of tuna tartare and Chef Ryan shared his recipe for locally-caught yellowtail ceviche available at the The Perry Hotel.
- 4 oz Ahi Tuna, diced small
- 2 oz watermelon, diced small
- 4 slices of jalapeño
- 2 long slices of cucumber
- 2 oz of baby greens
- 1 orchid for garnish
In a bowl, add the tuna and watermelon, and toss with two tablespoons of Asian Ginger Vinaigrette and set aside.
Using a white plate, take the two long slices of cucumber and place at a diagonal.
At the center of the plate lay the baby greens. Spoon the tuna and watermelon onto the greens.
Using the soy emulsion in the squeeze bottle drizzle, in a circular motion, one ounce over the Tuna Tartar with some cascading onto the surface of the plate.
Garnish with sliced jalapeño and orchid.
- 3 ounces yellowtail, medium diced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 teaspoon, Aji Amarillo
- 2 teaspoons, freshly grated ginger
- 3 heirloom cherry tomatoes
- Salt to taste
- ½ red onion, chopped
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
Place all ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
Once the fish is translucent, plate and garnish with cilantro.
Forget the PB&J and the brisket, the Cuban is Florida's lunch of choice. Get the recipe here.
Gulf Shrimp with Lemon and Garlic
Fresh gulf shrimp and tangy citrus are iconic Florida flavors in dishes like this one. Get the recipe here.
Cuban Pulled Pork with Mojo Sauce
It's not a day in Miami without some lechon asado. Get the recipe here.
Classic Florida Conch Chowder
Floridians are lucky enough to have access to real Caribbean conch and a hearty chowder is one if the most popular menu items in the state.
Get the recipe here.
Red Snapper with Cajun Seasonings
Red Snapper is one of Florida's most popular fish, especially if you're into hook-and-cook cuisine (you catch it, they cook it). Get the recipe here.
Key Lime Pie
Floridians have been enjoying this iconic dessert for a century. Get the recipe here.
Pudim de Leite! ❤ . . . . Se eu fosse vc corria pra fazer essa delíciaaaaa pro final de semana! ? . . . . Vai agradar a família toda, garanto! ? . . . . INGREDIENTES: - 01 lata ou caixinha de leite condensado; - A mesma medida da lata/caixinha de leite; - 04 ovos; - 02 colheres de sopa de leite em pó (qualquer marca). . . PARA A CALDA: - 1 xícara de açúcar; - 1/2 xícara de água. . PREPARO: - Vamos começar pela calda: Na forma de furo central, coloque o açúcar e a água, deixe essa mistura em fogo médio, mexendo as vezes até virar um caramelo (cuidado para não queimar). - Espalhe o caramelo por toda a forma e reserve. - No liquidificador bata bem os ovos, depois acrescente o leite condensado, o leite, o leite em pó e bata bem. - Com uma peneira jogue a mistura na forma e leve para assar em banho maria por 1 hora. - Quando o pudim estiver bem moreninho por cima é pq está pronto. - Na dúvida, espete uma faca, se a mesma sair limpa é pq seu pudim estará pronto. - Deixe o pudim esfriando em cima do fogão por 1 hora. Depois leve a geladeira e deixe por mais 1 hora. - Depois é só passar a faca em volta da forma e desenformar em um prato ou refratário. ✔️OBS: *Para o pudim não ter aquele cheirinho de ovo desagradável é só retirar a parte branca que tem nos ovos e passar as gemas pela peneira. ✔️Não precisa cobrir o pudim com papel alumínio. . . . . #pudimdeleite #receita #pudim #delícia #deliciousfood #foodlover #cozinhaterapia #yummy #cozinhandocomamor #carinicess #followme #food #foodblogger #foodpics #foodie #foods #foodstagram #foodporn #amocozinhar #ifood #boanoite #flan #cake #instafood #doce #sobremesa
This is the perfect ending to an authentic Cuban meal in Miami. Get the recipe here.
The next time you feel like taking a trip to the Keys, but can't get away, try whipping up one of these classic dishes for a taste of Florida.