The New Doc Ford’s

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Bar scene at the new Doc Ford’s Captiva.

The third and newest Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille has debuted on Captiva Island outside of South Seas Island Resort entrance. It occupies the former Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbecue with seating for more than 300 people.

The menu pretty much mirrors those at Doc Ford’s original Sanibel location and the one on Fort Myers Beach. Like the first two restaurants, the third serves tropical cuisine and cocktails inspired by the Doc Ford series of murder mysteries by New York Times bestselling novelist and Sanibel resident Randy Wayne White.

Recently, owners Marty and Brenda Harrity shared recipes for two of my favorite Doc Ford dishes – Quinoa Veggie Salad and Yucatan Shrimp. Below are my home-kitchen adaptations.

The passionfruit vinaigrette makes the quinoa dish bright and addictive.

The Yucatan shrimp also rates highly with the New York Times, which wrote of it: “you could eat this meal tonight in Des Moines or Brooklyn, in Paris or Jakarta, and imagine yourself on a beach staring south, the moment holding perfect as a soap bubble that might never pop.” I think my friends who last shared it with me in Minnesota would agree.

YUCATAN SHRIMP

4  tablespoons unsalted  butter

Yucatan shrimp from my kitchen

Yucatan shrimp from my kitchen

1  large clove garlic, mincedJuice of two large limes

1  tablespoon sambal oelek

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1  pound large, fresh, shell-on shrimp

1  teaspoon jalapeño, seeded and chopped

2  tablespoons chopped cilantro.

In a small saucepan set over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter to saucepan. When it melts, stir in the lime juice, sambal, salt, and pepper. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to rest.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp, cover and remove from heat; cook for 2-3 minutes or until they are just firm and pink. Do not overcook. Drain into a colander and shake over the sink to remove excess moisture.

In a large bowl, toss the shrimp and chili sauce. Add jalapeño, sprinkle with cilantro, and toss again. Serves 4, messily.

QUINOA VEGGIE SALAD

2 cups each white and red quinoa, cooked according to package directions

1/2 cup brunoise-diced zucchini

Quinoa Salad. Pretty. Delicious.

Quinoa Salad. Pretty. Delicious.

1/2 cup brunoise-diced yellow squash

1/2 cup brunoise-diced carrot (peeled)

1 cup passionfruit vinaigrettte (recipe below)

PASSIONFRUIT VINAIGRETTE

1/2 cup passionfruit puree

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup white balsamic

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (1 large)

2 tablespoons diced garlic

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients except olive oil, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil to emulsify. Season. Mix together with salad ingredients and refrigerate before serving.

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New Species of Mucky Duck

Captiva’s ultra-popular beach restaurant evolves.

Victor Mayeron was a well-loved fixture at the Mucky Duck on Captiva Island, and I missed him already when I was seated yesterday with no pranks, pratfalls, and wise-ass comments.

But alas, he has retired (and bought the entire staff iPad2’s I hear), selling out his interest to partner Andreas Bieri, who also own’s Captiva’s Green Flash restaurant.

Andreas has been busy! The sandy front yard now has pavers, which are spreading to the parking lot.

Frozen key lime pie.... mmmm!

As for the menu, you will still find classics such as the BBQ shrimp & bacon, fish & chips, crab cakes, and the famous frozen key lime pie. (Today frozen key lime pie on a stick is big in the Keys, but I think The Duck did it first.)

I was there for lunch, attended by the expert and smiling Alaina, a longtimer. (Almost all of the Duck’s employees rank as longtimers, a testimony to good management. And good tips.)

But back to the lunch menu, which had some newbies since my last nosh – grilled chicken burrito, salmon en croute, and the so-called Captiva sandwich, to name a few.

I bit at the mention of a seared ahi tuna Caesar as one of the day’s specials. The tuna did that proverbial melting in the mouth routine, and the salad was crispy and nicely dressed. And besides that, I actually felt rather saintly to have sidestepped the pub burger or crunchy grouper sandwich in favor of something relatively healthy.

Tuna Caesar special

Then, entirely unprovoked (I told Alaina I was done!), a piece of key lime pie arrived to my table. They hit my weak spot, telling me it was a bribe to get me to write something nice about the Duck. How could I not?

Final analysis: The Duck will always be The Duck, but the changes are for the good. They’re even open on Sundays now!