The Block Island Times

From the Kitchen of... Gary Ryan

Nov 30, 2013

The great thing about knowing Gary Ryan is that you can find him almost any time. We all know him as the tall, friendly man who manages the delicatessen at the Block Island Grocery. Try going back to the meat counter on a cold, gray day. The goodwill and pleasant service from Gary and his staff will send you off with the items on your shopping list and higher spirits, too.

Beginning with a degree in history and on through years as an optician in New York and later work with restaurants, Gary found his way to Block Island in 1985. He and his wife, Bonny, with Marilyn Wolf and Lillian Seamon, owned and operated the High View Inn for 15 years. He brought his cooking and management experience, but more important, his people skills. “People always make the business,” he said.

As a volunteer, Gary has been a vital member of the Block Island Rescue Squad for 24 years.

Gary does all his cooking at home these days. “Only because I like to eat,” he adds. Lucky Bonny!

Gary made his special salmon and creamed spinach for us in his other kitchen — the one at the B.I.G. deli. Salmon is his favorite because it can be cooked so many ways. His most recent creation is this pan-seared salmon jazzed up with a big splash of limoncello liquor. The creamed spinach is fast and easy. It gets its flavor boost from melting in a nice chunk of brie cheese. These recipes serve one person, so remember to increase them for the number of people at your table.

A note: Try baking several garlic heads and keep them on hand. The cooked cloves are delicious blended with other foods (try them with mashed potatoes!) or spread on your favorite crackers. — Becky Ballard

“From the kitchen of…” is a twice-monthly feature about Block Islanders and their favorite homemade recipes.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Limoncello

1 head of garlic, baked

Olive oil and salt for garlic

6-ounce filet of salmon

½ cup flour seasoned with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 leek, sliced crosswise into rings

¼ cup Limoncello (Note: the B.I.G. has two selections)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh dill


To prepare baked garlic cloves: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel away loose outer layers of a garlic head

and slice off the top, exposing the individual cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.

Cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and bake until cloves feel soft – 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool then

squeeze cloves out of their skin.


To prepare the fish: Combine olive oil and butter in a skillet. Heat. Dredge both sides of salmon filet in

seasoned flour mixture, and quickly sauté until browned. Saving juices in pan, remove fish and keep warm.

Place 2 garlic cloves in hot pan and mash with a spoon. Add leeks and Limoncello. While pan is hot, carefully

tip edge of mixture into gas flame to ignite, and burn off the alcohol in the Limoncello. Continue to stir, and

cook until leeks are browned and tender, and juices have cooked down and thickened slightly. Add salt and

pepper to taste. Return fish to pan and heat. Sprinkle with fresh dill and serve.

One serving.


Ryan’s Creamed Spinach

5 ounces fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 ounces Brie cheese, at room temperature, cut into chunks

2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add spinach. When spinach begins to wilt, stir in brie, bacon bits, and a sprinkle of

nutmeg. Lower temperature, cover, but stir occasionally. Cook until spinach is done and brie has melted, stir

to blend. Serve hot.

One serving.

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