My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by Justin and Norman Van Aken

Last Updated January 22, 2018
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My Key West Kitchen by Justin and Norman Van Aken

"Norman is a true gastronomic pioneer, even a culinary pilgrim. A self-taught chef, he is equally steeped in both James Beard and the classic European traditions of gastronomy. He found his true culinary love, though, in 'the cuisines of the sun'..." -- Charlie Trotter, in his introduction to My Key West Kitchen.

Very much a love letter to their adopted home of Key West, Florida, Norman Van Aken and his son, Justin, collect the tastes, places, and lore of what they call "our personal and collective Shangri-La."

Norman says, "My Key West Kitchen is, in part, the story of one chef's experience in Key West. It is also a snapshot in time -- a time and place that was shared by a loose-knit assembly of artists, dreamers, travelers, workers, and the like -- each of them true Key West characters. The collage of flavors from the American South, the Bahamas, Cuba, and more are what I found when I arrived."

Enjoy these three quintessential Key West recipes for Key lime pie, conch fritters, and a seafood rundown.

Sunshine’s Key Lime Pies

Key Lime Pie from My Key West Kitchen by Norman Van Aken
Key limes are also known as Mexican, West Indian, and Bartender limes.

KWI Conch Fritters

Conch Fritters from My "Key West Kitchen" by Norman and Justin Van Aken
Key West’s airport is called Key West International, and back in the 1970s, the airport was more like a funky bus terminal in a southern town with a bar menu.

Nassau Rundown with Snapper and Coconut

Nassau Rundown with Snapper and Coconut from My Key West Kitchen by Norman Van Aken
“Rundown” is an island way of saying the sauce reduces or “runs down" the pot.
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