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John Mooney’s Stonefruit Salad and Gin & Tonic Salmon recipes

Written By Scott Joseph On September 20, 2009

Here are the recipes that chef John Mooney of Highland Manor cooked at the Orlando Home Show.






1 tablespoon peach vinegar (or substitute balsamic)

2 teaspoons stone fruit syrup (fresh cherry, plum and peach juice reduced to syrup)

1 teaspoon extra virgin lemon-o (or regular extra virgin)

3 cups assorted full-flavored greens (baby mustard, lovage, arugula, dandelion, mizzuna, etc.)

2 tablespoons honey pecans (see recipe)

2 tablespoons dried currants or chopped raisins

2 tablespoons cold Point Reyes blue cheese, crumbled

¼ peach and plum ripe, cored and thinly sliced

4 cherries pitted and split


Place the syrup and peach vinegar in a small mixing bowl.  Whisk in the lemon-o and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the greens, honey pecans, and currants.  Sprinkle over with the blue cheese, then drizzle over with the dressing.  Toss the salad gently and briefly, as you do not want the cheese crumbles to begin sticking together.  Divide the salad onto the center two chilled salad plates and garnish with by fanning the peach, plum and cherry slices around each salad.




Yield: two servings






1 tablespoon high quality honey

2 teaspoons molasses

Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1 cup shelled pecan halves


Combine the honey and molasses.  Season to taste with the salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss with the pecans until they are well coated.  Transfer the pecans onto a kitchen towel and allow to briefly drain.  Roast the pecans in a pre-heated 350° oven on an icing rack until the pecans are fairly dry and toasted.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Chop the pecans into 1/4” pieces.







1 tablespoon toasted whole coriander seeds, lightly cracked

6 limes for zest and juice

1 tablespoon juniper berries, lightly toasted

1/2 cup raw Florida cane sugar

1/4 cup coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-3/4 pounds skinless-boneless salmon fillet

Caramelized cauliflower (recipe follows)

Lime Buerre Blanc (recipe follows)

Coarse herb salad (recipe follows)


Make a spice mix by combining the toasted coriander seeds and juniper berries in a spice grinder.  Grind to a fine powder.  Combine the powder with the raw sugar, salt and ground pepper in a medium mixing bowl.  Sprinkle half the cure onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.   Place the salmon on top and zest 4 of the limes over the top. Cover with the remaining cure.  Cover with a small piece of parchment, then wrap with plastic and refrigerate 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Scrape the cure off the salmon with a table knife and cut into four equal portions.  Light a hot fire on your barbecue grill or preheat your broiler and set the broiler rack six inches from the broiling element.  Grill the salmon, turning once, five to seven minutes, or until well marked outside and slightly translucent in the center. 



Caramelized Cauliflower

Serves Four


1 large head cauliflower

2 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Remove the green leaves and stem from the cauliflower.  Remove enough of the core so the cauliflower can stand upright.  As you look down on the cauliflower, consider it as you would the earth.  Square two opposite sides of the cauliflower by slicing off the north and south poles.  Reserve these florets and cut any large pieces into small bits.  Set the bits aside.  Cut down through the equator to make two halves, then slice each half in half.  The result should be four, fairly equal fan-shaped slices about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.  In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat one tablespoon of the grapeseed oil over a medium-high heat.  Add the cauliflower slices in a single layer; scatter the bits around.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Place another skillet or sauté pan over the slices to gently weigh them down.  Cook, rotating the skillet by 1/4 turns and pressing down occasionally, for five minutes, or until the cauliflower is nicely browned.  Stir the bits so they don’t burn.  Drizzle the remaining oil over the uncooked sides of the cauliflower slices, turn over and brown on the second side, three to four minutes.  Lower the heat slightly if the cauliflower appears to be browning too fast.



Buerre Blanc


4 large sliced shallots

Juice of 5 limes

1 sprig of thyme

1 dry bay leaf

1 tablespoon juniper berries

2 ounces heavy cream

12 ounces of unsalted butter cut into cubes and kept cold

Salt and pepper to taste


On low heat sweat the shallots with the juniper, bay leaf, and thyme until the shallots are translucent.  Next add the lime juice and reduce until almost dry. Next, add the heavy cream and further reduce until almost dry. Finally, start with one cube of butter and whisk into the cream until melted.  Stirring continuously add a cube of butter every time one melts until you achieve a beautiful sauce consistency.  Season with salt and pepper and finish with lime zest.  


Coarse Herb Salad

Serves four


2 tablespoons large flat Italian parsley leaves

2 tablespoons fresh chives sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chervil sprigs

Segments of one lime (reserve the center of the lime)

Reserved bits from the caramelized cauliflower


Combine the ingredients in a small mixing bowl.  Squeeze a little juice from the reserved center of the lime.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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