Bahama Bank Lettuce Wraps

   One leaves Florida to go cruising with a larder full of fresh produce, recognizing that it won't last long.  And fresh produce becomes increasingly scarce and expensive on the arid islands of the Bahamas.  The best strategy involves using a variety of techniques to prevent spoilage, while simultaneously eating the fresh fruits and vegetables with gusto over that first week.

   As soon as we passed out of the rough, rolly ocean and up onto the shallow Little Bahama Bank, the waters changed from a deep blue to the most amazing pale aquamarine.  The waves calmed, the sun beat down, and appetites that had been long suppressed by mild seasickness quickly returned.

   This is the lunch we then came up with.  It is an adaptation of a classic Italian caprese salad, and delicious on a warm day.

4-6 large leaves of romaine                   extra virgin olive oil

2 sliced tomatoes                                   1/4 tsp. fennel pollen

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil                    Fresh ground pepper

2 avocadoes, peeled & sliced                 Fleur de Sel

1/4 C. minced proscuitto

   Lay the romaine leaves on a tray, then scatter the next 4 ingredients over the leaves.  Drizzle with olive oil, then grind fresh pepper over the whole thing, and sprinkle the fleur de sel and fennel pollen over that.  Let the whole thing sit in the tropical sun for 5 or 10 minutes, then roll up the leaves like a burrito, with the other ingredients making the filling. 

If you don't have these last two ingredients, do yourself a favor and go to and order both for your pantry.  You won't regret it!  Fleur de sel is a light, flaky sea salt that floats on the top of a pool of seawater as it evaporates.  The texture seems to somehow make the salt taste far better on vegetables, steaks, or whatever.  Fennel pollen is exactly that and has an amazing savory, fennell-ey scent and flavor which goes great with anything that has olive oil on it.