Ports of Call Bistro in Southport, North Carolina, is a small corner of the world, yet offers those who stop in, a taste of places beyond. With a globally inspired menu, you are instantly transported from one country to another, simply through taste and aroma. Items change seasonally and are prepared with great care by the Ports of Call Culinary team, which is headed by Executive Chef, Greg Feltz.
Born in Buffalo, NY, Greg and his family didn’t stay put. His father, a military man, carried his family from one place to another. Living in Germany for several years and later attending Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Orlando, Florida. Chef Feltz remembers first learning how to cook after his parents split, with a fond childhood memory of cooking out of his Tabasco cookbook, which he still owns to this day.
Chances are you will find Chef Greg Feltz along with his culinary team mulling through the produce at Oak Island and Southport farmers markets, a couple of favorite spots for the chef’s culinary inspiration. As the Ports of Call menu changes seasonally, Chef Feltz is inspired by the seasons and what he can find at these local markets. With summer here the menu is staying fresh with the produce and ingredients of warmer days. Heirloom tomatoes are a favorite summer ingredient that Greg loves to work with, which he gets from Bruce Hutchings at Ridge Farms. “It’s always fun for me to see the different varieties he brings to the Oak Island and Southport farmers markets.”
With “the world on your plate” as their motto, Ports of Call Bistro and Market delights in flavors from abroad. Chef Feltz explains, “I like to marry that motto with what I enjoy cooking. Taking local ingredients and applying worldly techniques to them.” When it comes to regional recipes, he enjoys the challenge of pairing a particular wine with its region. “Recently we’ve started selecting wine regions (Argentina, Italy, and South Africa, to name a few) and cooking the cuisine of that region with wine pairings. I really enjoy these dinners as they give me a chance to grow as a chef,” said Feltz.
Chef Greg Feltz is an expert on food from around the globe, so choosing a favorite foodie city is difficult. “Seattle was great just for The Pike Place Market, Charleston was just outstanding, and I am quite fond of Asheville.” His ultimate comfort food is lasagne, made for him by his family each birthday and in his downtime, Greg enjoys spending time with his four-month-old, Weston and his fiance Amanda hanging out at the beach.
Pan Seared Wild Sea Bass over Rice Pilaf with Braised Kale, Crispy Leek Straws, Sweet Onion Reduction and Lemon Beurre Blanc.
Yield 2 servings
1 lb wild sea bass skin on
1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup onion minced
1/4 cup celery minced
1/4 cup carrot minced
1 lb kale ribs removed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp salt
1 leek cleaned and julienned
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp hot sauce
flour to dredge
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 onion julienne
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 stick unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
1) Preheat oven and fryer to 350. melt butter in medium saucepan. add onions, carrots, and celery cook until translucent. add rice and coat completely with butter.
2) add chicken stock and bring to boil. reduce heat to simmer and cover. cook for approximately 15 minutes or until rice is cooked. combine the buttermilk, hot sauce and leeks for the leek straws.
3) while rice is going combine all ingredients for the kale in a sauce pot and simmer until tender.
4) start the onion reduction by placing the julienne onions in a saute pan and cover with the sugar. pour over the white wine and white wine vinegar to dissolve the sugar. simmer until the onions are tender and then strain them out. (if you don’t have a fryer or prefer a healthy alternative to the leek straws these pickled onions make a nice garnish or salad addition). reduce the liquid until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
5) in a saute pan reduce the white wine and lemon juice until nearly dry and then whisk the butter into the reduction one cube at a time so as not to separate the butter.
6) sear the sea bass skin side first and then finish in oven for about 8 minutes or until flaky. dredge leek straws in flour and fry until golden brown drain on paper towels.
7) to plate, place rice on plate, pile kale on the rice. set the fish skin side up on the kale and then top it all with leek straws or pickled onions. Finally, go around the dish with your beurre blanc and then drizzle the onion reduction on top of the beurre blanc.