Chef Brannon Florie of The Granary and On Forty-One in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina has a thing for citrus. He uses it in his cooking as a way to balance out flavors and to add an element of freshness so when the local produce purveyor Limehouse Produce announced a citrus contest, entering was a no-brainer. Chef Florie’s recipes for Hiser Farms Clams with Meyer Lemon, Cara Cara Navel, Satsuma Mandarin and Chinese Christmas won top honors in best dish and best cocktail categories. Chef Florie advises working with non-traditional flavors when cooking with citrus. Lemon, for example, is often used with fish and shellfish but he reaches instead for oranges for more delicate dishes like clams and scallops.
Clams are a mainstay item on the Granary menu but the preparation changes seasonally. He keeps the ingredients local by sourcing the clams from a seafood company that harvests from Breach Inlet, a waterway between the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. He deglazes the pan with the locally brewed Westbrook White Thai ale and finishes the dish with a handful of his housemade Chorizo sausage and Satsuma and cara cara segments. Wash down the clams with a Chinese Christmas cocktail made from Highwire Hat Trick Gin, Satsuma and lime juices and orange bitters for a delicious citrus celebration.