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Dave Gossett, chef/partner of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 8985 U.S. 41 N., Naples, 598-2424, is making scalloped sweet potatoes on the CookIt! video today. Gossett chose this dish to offer an alternative to the sweet potato-and-marshmallow casserole that has been a tradition for Thanksgiving dinner. This popular item is only on the restaurant’s menu from November through January.
Gossett has worked in restaurant kitchens since he was 13 when he started as a dishwasher at a neighborhood breakfast place and moved up to working the grill. His love of food comes from his Japanese grandmother, who asked him to try whatever she was making and encouraged him to experience different foods and different cultures. She was the manager of a Japanese restaurant in Tampa and could do everything, including cooking and rolling sushi at the restaurant.
He started at Fleming’s as a line cook, and the career path suited him so well, Gossett says, that he has been with the company for 11 years. He became the chef partner when the Naples restaurant opened, and not only enjoys his profession but living and working in our slice of paradise.
Gossett’s most important ingredient is his passion, he says, and his most used utensils are his measuring spoons, thermometer and sanitizer bucket. Besides cooking and his restaurant his number passion is his family — his wife, daughter and son. This Thanksgiving he will be home helping his wife, or in reality telling her what to do to get the family meal cooked on time, he conceded. (The restaurant is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.)
Here is Fleming’s Steakhouse recipe:
Scalloped sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons jalapenos, seeds removed and finely diced
3 ounces leeks, ends cut off
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
1½ ounce butter, lightly salted
2 cups heavy cream
1½ cups half and half
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces Jack cheese, grated
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/16” thick circles with a mandoline
Spray pan coating, as needed
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Use the bottom 3” of the leek and dice into ½” pieces.
Heat a large sauce pan on high and melt the butter.
Add the jalapenos, leeks, salt and pepper to the pan and saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the cream and Half and Half and bring to a simmer.
When cream is hot, take the pot off the stove and add the cheeses and blend thoroughly and pour into a large mixing bowl.
Add the potatoes to the cream and mix to cover.
Spray sides and bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with the pan coating.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and bake for one hour.
Remove the wrap and foil and cook for 15 more minutes to brown top of potatoes.
Up to 20 servings
— Sheila Mesulam, firstname.lastname@example.org