Can’t touch this

Hot and mild recipes to spice up your summer

Turn up the heat in the kitchen even more with these spicy recipes that were shared by local chefs, communities and restaurants. Perfect for summer cookouts or dinner parties, these recipes are sure to cure any hot cravings.

Not too baa-d!

Spice up your lamb chops with this recipe from Moss Creek executive chef Lenny Giarratano that is made with a zesty mango chutney.

Key ingredient: Garam Masala Spice Blend

Garam Masala seasoning packs a punch with its flavors. It’s made from spices of cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cardamon pods. Pick up a nice blend at The Spice & Tea Exchange on Hilton Head Island. 

Moss CreekGrilled Baby Lamb Chops with Hot Mango Chutney

Ingredients (Lamb) 

8 lamb rib chops

1 tablespoon Garam Masala seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions [1] Mix seasoning, salt, and oil together and toss liberally with lamb. Let sit at least one hour. [2] Grill over high heat 2-3 minutes per side until desired doneness.

Ingredients (Mango chutney)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup small diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup small diced sweet yellow onion

1 jalapeño pepper, diced finely and seeds removed

1 teaspoon dry crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup apple juice

Pinch cumin

Pinch curry powder

Pinch cinnamon

Pinch nutmeg

Scant ground clove

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 pound diced frozen mango, thawed

1/4 pound dried blueberries, currants, or raisins

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Cornstarch and apple juice as needed

Directions [1] For the chutney, in a large, shallow sauce pan, saute the olive oil, red bell pepper, yellow onion, jalapeno, and red pepper flakes together until onions become translucent. [2] Mix in apple juice, cumin, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and salt and cook for one minute. [3] Add in mango, dried fruits, rice wine vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil while stirring. [4] Reduce heat and simmer on very low for around five minutes. [5] Make a slurry by mixing cold apple juice and cornstarch (about 1/4 cup each). Add slowly to simmering chutney and stir constantly. All slurry may not be required. Add only until desired thickness. Cook another minute or two and remove from heat. Chutney may be made one day in advance. Simply reheat at time of service.

Lady in red

Every good chef needs to try the “best” dish served wherever he or she is visiting, and Chef Nunzio Patruno of Nunzio Restaurant + Bar is no exception. He enjoyed many dishes from the island of Ischia, including this pasta dish with fresh tuna, anchovy, black olives, capers and more. The sauce is known as puttanesca, which translates roughly to (lady of the night). Savor its heat and zest. 

Key ingredient: Artisanal Fusilli pasta

Chef Nunzio Patruno uses his handmade Fusilli pasta for this recipe but you can purchase yours from any specialty retail store selling “artisanal” pasta. Buon Appetito!

Nunzio Restaurant + BarFusilli alla Puttanesca con Tonno alla Ischitana

Ingredients (Serves 6)

1 pound of artisanal Fusilli pasta

6 ounces of tuna, chopped into small cubes

2 anchovies

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of black olives

1 tablespoon of capers

1 pinch of hot pepper flakes

2 cups of fresh tomato, cut in strips

1 glass of white wine

1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped

2 ounces of extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper

Directions [1] In a sauté pan, cook down the garlic in olive oil until golden. Then, add the tuna, capers, black olives, anchovies and pepper flakes. Cook for three minutes. Add the glass of wine. Let the wine evaporate and add the tomatoes, salt & pepper, basil and parsley.  Cook down for ten minutes with the lid on. Then, set aside. [2] Cook the Fusilli pasta in salted boiling water “al dente.” Strain and toss with the Puttanesca sauce. Add a little pasta water if the sauce is too dry. Finally, serve with drizzled extra virgin olive oil and grated fresh pecorino cheese.

Get on a seafood diet 

In the mood for some seafood? Try the Salty Dog Cafe’s iconic shrimp salad that’s got a mild kick from the tarragon vinegar. If they can see it, they will eat it. 

Key ingredient: Tarragon vinegar 

Often used in French cuisine, tarragon vinegar turns any dish up a notch with its herb flavor and mild kick. It’s great on summer salads, tomatoes, olives and seafood. If you don’t have a bottle available, mix white wine vinegar with fresh or dried tarragon.

Salty Dog CafeCalibogue Shrimp Salad


5 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

3 cups mayonnaise

3 tablespoons dill

1-2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1-2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced

Old Bay seasoning, to taste

Directions [1] Cook shrimp on boiled water seasoned with Old Bay seasoning. Drain and cool in cold water to stop the cooking process. [2] Mix the remaining ingredients thoroughly. Add in the cooked shrimp. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your personal tastes. Yields 12+ servings. 

A little crabby

This dish from Lulu Kitchen brings a little kick and a lot of flavor. If you can’t get your hands on mero sea bass fillets, substitute with Chilean sea bass or local grouper. 

Key ingredient: Lump crab 

The Lump grade of crab meat is composed of broken pieces of Jumbo Lump and other flake pieces. This grade of crab meat is ideal for seafood salads, crab cakes and fish recipes such as this one.

Lulu KitchenCrab Encrusted Mero Sea Bass with Crispy Sweet Corn Polenta, Wilted Spinach & Corn Coulis

Ingredients (Mero) 

4-6 ounce mero sea bass fillets

8 ounce lump crab 

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/4 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

2 dashes tabasco

1 pound baby spinach

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Ingredients (Polenta) 

2 cups polenta 

1 cup cold water

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons sweet butter

1 cup corn pulp (saved from pressed sauce)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Ingredients (Sauce) 

6 ears sweet corn

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons sweet butter, divided into 3

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions [1] To start, mix mustard, mayonnaise, and tabasco in a bowl. Place fish on a nonstick pan and lightly but evenly coat fish with mustard mix (this will keep the fish extra moist). [2] Gently mix crab into remaining mustard mix and evenly distribute amongst fish. Place in refrigerator until ready to bake. [3] Next, place corn in a blender and blend until just smooth. Place corn in a strainer and set over pot and press out juice. Set aside. [4] Bring polenta water to a boil and add cream butter and polenta, whisking constantly. Once polenta starts to thicken, add corn pulp. Simmer for another two minutes. Place in a glass casserole dish on a nonstick baking pan. [5] Place fish in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Time will depend on fish being used. While fish cooks, brush top of cooled polenta with butter and then place in oven until crispy on top – about 12 to 15 minutes. [6] Place corn juice on stove top and reduce by half over medium heat. Whisk in cream and reduce by half again. Whisk in honey and butter one third at a time, making sure each piece is incorporated before adding next. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. [7]  In a saute pan, add olive oil over medium high heat and add spinach, working quickly with thongs. Add salt and pepper and keep moving until wilted. [8] Remove polenta and divide into fours, placing in the middle of a plate, and top each with spinach and then fish on top. Spoon sauce around each fillet and finish with chopped chives.

Hummus where the heart is 

With a spice like cumin, Sprout Momma’s hummus recipe has just the right amount of kick to it. Enjoy it with fresh veggies or warm bread.

Key ingredient: Sesame Tahini 

Made from toasted ground hulled sesame, tahini serves as a very important ingredient for many Mediterranean-based dishes, especially hummus. With a savory, bitter and nutty flavor profile, it’s also great as a sandwich spread, vegetable dip or salad dressing. Hot pick: Joyva Sesame Tahini

Sprout MommaButter Bean Hummus


6 cups uncooked butter beans, fresh or frozen

1 12-ounce container tahini

1 large lemon, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon salt

4 to 6 cloves of garlic

Directions [1] In a large saucepan, put butter beans and garlic in water. Bring to a rolling boil, turn the heat down, and cook until beans are soft. [2] Drain the beans and garlic, but make sure to keep the cooking water to use as hydration for the hummus. [3] In a processor, put in beans, garlic, tahini, cumin, salt, and lemon and then blend. Add cooking water until desired consistency is achieved. Put in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted pita chips. 

Devil in the details 

Chef and partner Luke Lyons of Frankie Bones shared his spicy seafood Seafood Fra Diavolo dish that’s sure to encompass all the right flavors. 

Key ingredient: Fra Diavolo sauce 

Fra Diavolo (Italian for “Brother Devil”) is a spicy tomato sauce made with crushed red pepper, garlic and fresh herbs. Liven up your dinner by experimenting with different types of seafood and pasta.

Frankie BonesSeafood Fra Diavolo

(Serves 4)


1 yellow onion, small dice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon oregano

1 pinch crushed red pepper, or more to suit taste

16 ounces whole tomatoes, hand crushed

24 ounces precooked fettuccine pasta 

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 lobster tails

Local shrimp

Jumbo scallops

Diavolo sauce 

Directions [1] For Fra Diavolo sauce, heat half oil in a small pot (add more if needed) and sliced garlic. Toast garlic until golden brown and aromatic. [2] Heat the other half of the olive oil and onions in a medium sized pot. Sweat onions until translucent. Add oregano and crushed red pepper. Cook for a minute, then add all remaining ingredients to pot and simmer for 15 minutes. [3] Season shrimp, scallops, and split lobster tail and sauté in sauté pan with olive oil. Add Diavolo sauce, chopped clams, spinach, and pasta. Toss to incorporate and heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning. [4] To assemble one serving, plate 1 split lobster tail, 3 jumbo shrimp, 3 jumbo scallops, 4 ounces chopped clams, 4 ounces Diavolo sauce, 2 ounces fresh spinach, and 6 ounces precooked fettuccine pasta. Serve and enjoy. 

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