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Neighborhood Chef: John Everett

Self-professed foodie John Everett of Westport is a whirlwind of creative energy. When he's not designing interiors or creating architectural plans, he's painting a canvas. Lately, he's been delving into Metal Point, a drawing technique that dates back to the Renaissance in which the artists use metal-tipped pencils to create images. "Back then they used silver, but I'm using gold as it doesn't tarnish," he said in a recent interview with The Daily Norwalk. His series "Orchids of Pointe," focusing on ballerinas, has drawn substantial interest from his collectors.

An avid cyclist, Everett is also a home chef who is almost as fascinated by culinary creations as he is by his visual pursuits. He bakes his own bread ("I'm a bread junkie!") and, as with the choice of drawing materials, he is extremely selective about all the ingredients he chooses for his recipes. "I insist on organic meats and dairy products," he says.

Spring and its crop of new produce got Everett's creative juices flowing. Here, he offers a recipe for fiddlehead ferns and shrimp that is as good as gold.

Fiddleheads and Shrimp

1Tbls. Butter¼ cup high quality olive oil3-4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced½ medium red onion, chopped½ red bell pepper, chopped½ tsp quality mustard½ cup white wine (plus one glass for the chef)1 medium tomato, sliced (discard seeds and pulp)¾ to 1lb shrimp (peeled and de-veined)1lb fresh fiddleheads (thoroughly cleaned)10-12 Mediterranean olivesCrushed red pepper (for garnish, to taste)Fresh basil (for garnish, to taste)Parmesan cheese (to taste)

Heat 1 Tbl. butter and 2 Tbls. high quality extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.Sauté 3-4 finely chopped cloves of garlic, add chopped ½ medium red onion and chopped ½ red bell pepper. Sauté for two to three minutes.Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cleaned, trimmed and washed fiddleheadsAdd ½ tsp. quality mustard and 2 – 3 tbls. white wineBlend vegetables and continue to sauté until fiddleheads begin to soften.Add tomato slices that have had the seeds and pulp removedBlend and sauté for two minutesAdd shrimp to panAdd an additional 2 tbls. olive oil and continue to sauté until the shrimp a nicely pink.Serve on a warmed plate.Garnish with Mediterranean olives, fresh basil, crushed red pepper flakes and parmesan(to taste)

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