Downtown West Palm Beach has seen a resurgence in dining as of late, with trendy eateries like Avocado Grill leading the charge. For chef/owner Julien Gremaud, cooking has been in his blood since he was a wee sprout, developing a passion for the culinary arts from his mother in their St. Tropez kitchen.
“I was just 14 when I started working as a professional pastry chef,” says Gremaud. “Soon after, with my mother’s blessings, I left France to hone my skills at several of the finest restaurants in the United Kingdom. Without her encouragement, I’m not sure I’d be where I am today.”
He is parlaying this gratefulness onto all South Florida moms for Mother’s Day, cooking up an array of specials to keep mom apron-free on May 10. With an ode to the sea, Avocado Grill’s seafood tower “for her” will boast six oysters, three jumbo shrimp and a crabmeat cocktail ($40). If mom is in a sharing mood, guests can opt to double the tower portion for $80.
If seafood is not your thing, the kitchen’s seasonal menu of sharable plates will be available, including one special treat, un-breaded eggplant parmesan, direct from Gremaud’s mother’s kitchen.
“My favorite dish my mom cooked for me growing up was a very simple eggplant parmesan,” says Gremaud. Keeping true to his farm-to-table, locavore-driven food, this fresh take on eggplant parm is a healthy alternative to the breaded and fried version served at so many establishments. And when paired with another Mother’s Day special, roasted prime rib au jus, you’ll have a meal to remember.
- Mother’s Day brunch will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 10. Reservations are strongly recommended; head to opentable.com/avocado-grill to reserve a spot. For more information, call 561-623-0822, or visit avocadogrillwpb.com.
Enjoy a healthy alternative to the classic Mediterranean comfort food, eggplant parmesan, with Chef Gremaud’s recipe here.
Un-Breaded Eggplant Parmesan
- 3 large eggplants
- 2 14.5 oz. cans of stewed tomatoes
- 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/3 cup of finely diced onion
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1/2 cup of mozzarella
- 1/2 cup of gruyere
- 1/2 cup of parmesan
Preparing the eggplant
- Peel and slice the eggplant.; generously salt.
- In a draining pan, place the eggplant and apply weight (a bag of rice should suffice), and drain for 12 hours. Rinse off salt and pat eggplants dry.
- Pan sear in olive oil until light brown; place eggplant on paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Sweat the onion and garlic. Add oregano and pepper, stir. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, minus cheese. Cook at a low temperature for an hour and a half.
- In a baking dish, apply a layer of eggplant, then a layer of marinara, then layer cheese, repeat to build layers.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees until golden brown.