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A new inspiration

Posted: Friday, Aug. 17, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

Chef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including designing and developing his all-grilled restaurant concepts, a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers and competed in the Iron Fork competition both years. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season.For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple approach directed toward the home-cook/viewer.His feature on Rising began in August of 2007, and since has become the most anticipated part of the show. During that time Troy has prepare over one thousand of his creative original recipes live on-air and has made several cooking appearances on the night time show, WCCB News Edge. Chef Troy teamed up with The Fresh Market as a sponsor for “Troy’s Everyday Eats" in April of 2011. Troy shops each week at The Fresh Market for the ingredients used on the show, he says, "The Fresh Market sponsorship is something I have pursued for a long time. I love shopping at their markets because everything is always so fresh. They have a large variety of organic and sustainable food options. As a consumer and chef, I couldn't ask for anything more". Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

On a recent visit to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, I not only took in the great views and enjoyed awesome hospitality, but I also got some creative inspiration.

I went up to attend the Gingerbread 101 workshop and had lunch out on the Sunset Terrace. I ordered a lobster cobb salad and was just blown away. When I got home I played around with my own version, adding some grill flare and a chipotle buttermilk dressing. It was so good that I decided to prepare it live during my Tuesdays with Troy segment on Fox News Rising.

Going full-out on my version, I decided to grill the romaine as well as the lobster tail. To add to the smokiness I put together the chipotle buttermilk dressing to go along with the crispy bacon, hard cooked egg, blue cheese, avocado and tomato.

Reflecting on my afternoon lunch at the Grove Park Inn it only confirmed that great food always seems to make a special moment even better, and the killer view of the North Carolina mountains was more inspiring than I could have imagined.

Grilled Lobster Cobb Salad with Chipotle Buttermilk Dressing

Makes 2 Entrée Salads

• 2 Each Lobster Tails-about 5 ounces each
• 2 Each Romaine Hearts
• To Drizzle Olive Oil
• To Taste Chef Troy Spice Mix-or kosher salt and black pepper
• 1/2 Pound Thick Sliced Bacon-sliced into thin strips, cooked and drained
• 1/2 Cup Blue Cheese-crumbled
• 1 Each Avocado-halved, pit removed, removed from skin and sliced into strips
• 2 Each Eggs-hard boiled, sliced or chopped
• 2 Each Roma Tomatoes-cored, deseeded and diced

Preheat grill for direct heat grilling to medium high heat.

Preheat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fat fryer or pot fitted with a thermometer

Fried Onions:

• To Fry Canola, Corn or Peanut Oil
• 1 Each Small Sweet Onion-thin sliced rings
• 1 1/2 Cups Flour
• 1/2 Cup Buttermilk

Place flour in zip bag, separate the onion rings, place in flour and shake to coat. Remove onions, shaking off excess and place in buttermilk to coat. Drain onions and lace back in bag of flour, shake to coat. Place in fryer, separating rings as much as possible, and fry until crisp and golden, about 2o to 3 minutes. Remove, drain and season with salt and pepper, leave at room temperature.

Dressing:

• 1/4 Cup Buttermilk
• 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
• 2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
• 1/2 Tablespoon Chipotle Pepper-deseeded and fine diced
• 1 Clove Garlic-smashed into a paste
• To Taste Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Whisk all ingredients together except salt and pepper to combine. Season to taste and mix together to incorporate, keep chilled in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Lobster:

Set up a steamer with about 2 to 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt, and bowl of ice water. Place the lobster in the colander part of the steamer and boil for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on size, about 1 minute per ounce.

The lobster tail will turn pink and the flesh should be almost cooked through. As soon as the lobster is finished cooking place in ice water to cool and stop from over cooking. Once lobster tail is completely cooled, about 1 minute, remove from water, wrap in paper towel and place in bowl cut/open side down to drain, at least 5 minutes.

Romaine:

Halve heart long ways, lightly oil, season and grill cut side down for 45 seconds to one minute, or until slightly charred. Remove from grill, chop and place into two chilled bowls.

Assemble:

1. Top grilled romaine, in groups or piles around the edge of the bowl, leaving the center empty, with the tomato, egg and bacon; leave a space for the lobster.

2. Place bowls in the refrigerator while finishing the lobster.

3. Cut each lobster in half, long ways exposing the flesh. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on grill cut side down to slightly char and finish cooking, about 2 minutes.

4. Remove from grill remove from shell and cut into bite size pieces. Place on each salad

5. Half and remove pit from avocado, removed from skin using a large spoon and keeping in one piece. Sliced into strips and place a half on each salad,

6. In the center place the fried onion rings and serve with dressing on the side.

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