By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Get a taste of Italian at Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove as Corporate Executive Chef Dewey LoSasso is all too familiar with putting together huge dinners, parties, and events anywhere.

At Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove, a private mansion that is the exclusive venue for in-house private events by Bill Hansen Catering, LoSasso said guests can pick and choose any spot on the property.

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“Pretty much everywhere. You can do hors d’oeuvres and a sit-down dinner on the patio and we have our tented area where you can seat 250 people. We have a room inside that can accommodate anywhere from 25 to 35 people,” LoSasso said.

Villa Woodbine is registered historic property, as Losasso explained, only the way he can.

“Villa Woodbine has been Hansen’s exclusive venue since the mid-80s. People actually lived here way back when and the Bay of Pigs invasion was planned here,” Losasso said.

“Who planned it? “ asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“Some guys. I don’t know who they were, but there’s a lot of history here,” he said as they both burst out laughing.

So okay, Losasso might not know all of the historic details of the building, but he is spot on when it comes to cooking.

This year, he celebrates 20 years of participating in this week’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival. He’s creating a dish for Thursday night’s Italian Bites on the Beach where about 30 chefs go all-out Italian.

“You see a lot of pasta, but you’ve got something different planned?” asked Petrillo.

“Normally the festival is at the end of February. Obviously, this year we made some changes. So it’s more towards summer, so when you think of summer you think of lobster. That’s what I thought, so we want to do a Sardinian-inspired lobster sandwich,” Losasso said.

Back in the kitchen, LoSasso showed Petrillo the ingredients for the lobster sandwich.

“So we have our chopped lobster meat with some fava beans mixed in. Then, we have our strecci bread, we have our herbs salad, and Pecorino Sardo cheese,” he explained.


Chef Dewey LoSasso’s Lobster sandwich being served at a South Beach Wine and Food Festival event at Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove. (CBS4)

The strecci bread (or you can use Foccacia bread) is split in half and lined with Pecorino cheese. Then, homemade lobster oil is added just before the lobster salad, which is not mayonnaise-based.

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“Instead of mayonnaise-based like a lobster roll, we’re basically using a red wine vinaigrette. We put some lemon zest in it. We want to make it a more acidic profile,” LoSasso said.

Chef Dewey LoSasso’s Lobster sandwich being served at a South Beach Wine and Food Festival event at Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove. (CBS4)

LoSasso then added the lobster salad, followed by a fresh herb salad and more cheese. Then, it’s grated Bottarga, which is a salted fish row. It’s all topped with his homemade chickpea fritters. Voila!

Chef Dewey LoSasso’s Lobster sandwich being served at a South Beach Wine and Food Festival event at Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove. (CBS4)

“I love the strecci bread. It’s just a perfect summer sandwich, Italian style,” said Petrillo after tasting a bite.

“Italian style for Italian Bites on the Beach at South Beach Wine and Food Festival,” said Losasso.

For more on Bill Hansen Catering, visit here.

For more on South Beach Wine and Food Festival click here. 

The Sardo Lobster Roll topped with Chick Pea Fritters, Herb Salad, and Grated Bottarga – Bill Hansen Catering

For The Lobster Salad

    • 1 cup cooked lobster meat – all shells removed – Diced\
    • 2 Tbl Cooked Fava Beans – Chilled
    • 2 Tbl Chopped Basil
    • 2 Tbl Good Quality Red Wine Vinegar
    • 4 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 Tsp Lobster Oil
    • Salt and Pepper to taste.

To make the lobster oil, simmer the lobster shells with olive oil for 1 hour, then let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, strain the shells from the oil. Keep the oil in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Chick Pea Fritter Recipe (Panelle)

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbl chopped Italian Parsley
  • Olive oil for pan-frying

Method for the chickpea fritters

  • Grease a rimmed sheet tray or your kitchen counter with olive oil.
  • Add the chickpea flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, and 3 cups water to a medium saucepan set over medium heat and whisk until smooth.
  • Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very thick (almost like polenta); this should take around 10 minutes or so.
  • Stir in the parsley.
  • Spread the mixture smoothly in the sheet tray or spread evenly on your kitchen counter. Let cool until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Heat 1/2 inch grapeseed oil in a heavy-bottomed high-sided skillet or Dutch oven until hot. Test the heat of the oil with the handle of a wooden spoon. Place the spoon into the oil and if it bubbles, the oil is ready.
  • Cut the panelle into small triangles or thin strips.
  • Fry in batches until lightly golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on a sheet tray lined with paper towels. Season with a touch more salt. Reserve

For the bread long  – strecci bread or baguette

Assemble  the sandwich

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  • 8 inch  strecci or Foccacia Bread, split like a hot dog bun
  • 1/4 cup grated Sardinian pecorino
  • 1 tsp Lobster oil
  • 3 ea chickpea fritter rectangles – pan-fried
  • 1/4 cup of herb salad (Mint, basil leaves – torn in a small bowl – tossed with 1 Tsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp olive oil, salt, pepper )
  • 1/2 tsp grated Bottarga
  • The Lobster Salad from the above recipe

Chef Dewey LoSasso’s Lobster sandwich ingredients being served at a South Beach Wine and Food Festival event at Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove. (CBS4)

To Assemble the sandwich: Sprinkle the pecorino on the split bread, add the lobster salad on top, then the chickpea fritters, then the herb salad, then a drizzle of the lobster oil. Lastly, a dusting of the grated Bottarga.

Lisa Petrillo