Savannah Dining: Blue Turtle puts healthy twist on American cuisine
Restaurant: Blue Turtle Bistro & Bar
Chef: Patrick Gilpin
Restaurant bio: Blue Turtle Bistro & Bar, a Gaslight Group restaurant, is a local business where farm-to-table cuisine is king. Serving up favorites like fresh Mahi-mahi, chicken salad and their signature fried artichoke hearts, Blue Turtle offers a wide range of daily lunch and dinner specials, small plates, the tartare of the day, soups, salads, signature house infused cocktails and a large variety of wines and craft beers.
“We want to serve American food, but put a healthy twist to it,” manager Alisha Sturgess said. “We don’t do burgers and fries… and we try to use local, farm fresh and organic as much as possible.”
Chef bio: Born and raised in Savannah, Gilpin graduated from Benedictine Military School. He started his chef career in Athens at Big City Cafe & Bakery at 18 years old. He moved back to Savannah and started at Il Pasticcio. He moved on to Alligator Soul until he turned 25 years old. He transferred to Garibaldi’s on Congress Street, where he then learned his passion for Italian food and traveled to Italy, specifically Acquasparta and Perugia. He trained in multiple restaurants for a little more than a month in Italy. When he returned to Savannah, he was hired as sous chef at Alligator Soul and continued his career there for a year and half. Gilpin, now 28 years old, left Alligator Soul to become executive chef of Blue Turtle Bistro & Bar.
Favorite Dish: Pork chop.
Why: “This dish represents a delicious farm-to-table recipe with fresh pork from Savannah River Farms,” Gilpin said. “It’s a simple, easy, healthy and light dish made with farm fresh vegetables with no added cream or butter.”
Chef Gilpin’s Pork Chop
Makes enough for 10-15 people.
Makes enough to marinate about 12 chops, chops must be completely submerged
1 quart orange juice
1 cup sugar
¾ cup of salt
4 bay leaves
1 gallon water
½ cup peppercorns
Dissolve sugar and salt in warm water. Combine all ingredients together. Add pork chop to brine and add a scoop of ice to cool. Remove pork chop after 24 hours.
½ cup white wine
3 zucchini, medium cut
3 yellow squash, medium cut
3 red onions, medium cut
15 Roma tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 pounds eggplant, medium diced
Stew all vegetables on high heat. Deglaze with white wine. Simmer 10-15 minutes until cooked.
Red Onion Marmalade
8 red onions, julienned
½ cup of red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
Add onion to a warm skillet with a little oil. Deglaze with red wine vinegar. Add all other ingredients and cook until sugar is dissolved and onions are still a little crunchy. Lay on sheet tray to cool. Serve cool.
Preparation of pork chop
Heat sauté pan to medium high heat. Season both sides of chop with salt and pepper. Pan sear into a golden brown color. Flip, lightly sear, and then add 2 ounces of vegetable stock and tab of butter. Finish off in the oven at 400 degrees until cooked thoroughly. Place ratatouille on plate, lean chop on ratatouille and top with onion marmalade.
BLUE TURTLE BISTRO & BAR
Address: 5002 Paulsen St., Suite 107
Hours: Open Mondays through Thursdays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Happy Hour takes place Mondays through Fridays from 4-7 p.m. and all day on Saturday.