Posts Tagged ‘shellfish’

Seafood Gumbo

March 31, 2009

I make gumbo when I have a need to tend to something.  Perhaps if I had a bigger garden, I wouldn’t ever make the stuff.  This batch contained all shellfish.  I love gumbo with catfish as well, though.

Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo

½ cup butter
½ cup all purpose unbleached flour
3 medium yellow onions, diced small
1½ green bell peppers, diced small
3 Serrano peppers, minced
¾ cups celery, diced small
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1- 1½ quart stock (I’m using chicken bc my grocery store has stopped carrying fish stock)
2 cups okra, sliced
2 tbs fresh thyme leaves,
2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
2 tbs fresh sage, chopped
2 tbs fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 dashes allspice (Thanks Sooz!)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp white vinegar (if needed) (Lemon juice would be better, but I’m out)
1 tsp table sugar (if needed)
kosher salt, to taste
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 lb crawfish tails, shelled
½ lb gulf shrimp, shelled
½ lb bay scallops

Melt butter in the bottom of a very large, heavy dutch oven over medium high heat.  When the fat is melted, carefully sprinkle in the flour.  Stir and scrape constantly until the roux browns to a chestnut color.  If it burns at all, start over.  This can take upwards of 30 minutes.  If the roux seems too oily add a bit more flour at a time.  Remove from heat if you aren’t ready to add the vegetables at once.

Add onions, peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux.  Mix thoroughly so that the roux is distributed evenly through out the vegetables.  Cook, lidded, over medium heat until the onions become transparent and the vegetables soften.  Add tomatoes.  Slowly stir in stock.  Add spices, herbs, okra, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a bubble, and add more stock if needed to reach desired thickness.  Taste frequently.  If the gravy needs brightening, add a tiny bit of white vinegar (or lemon if you’ve got it). If the acid is overpowering, add a pinch of sugar to even it out. Simmer over low heat for about 2 hours, until the tomatoes fall apart and blend with the soup.

Just prior to serving, add seafood and stir.  Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes until the shrimp and scallops have firmed and pinked.  Remove from heat.  Serve over white rice with a sprinkle of filé on top.  Top with green onions, pepper sauce, lemon wedges…. whatever you like.  I also firmly believe that gumbo should be served with a good crusty bread for slopping.

Delicate Crab Cakes

October 19, 2008

A friend was talking about salmon patties the other day and I got a serious jones for them.  They’re pretty high in the calorie department though, and canned salmon is always a bit iffy in my book.  Instead, I spent a rather ridiculous amount of bank on some good crab meat and came up with these crab cakes. They are not at all bready. Instead, they are very tender, full of crab, quite light, and extremely delicate.  I used MUCH care in moving them around, and they still very nearly fell apart, so don’t try this if you feel impatient.

It’s rare that something turns out exactly as I originally envisioned it, but this recipe did the trick.  Make sure to use the half and half mixture of lump/claw meat.  The lump is the more flavorful, sweet tasting type of crab meat, but using only that, the cakes would never stay together. The stringier claw meat provides more cohesion to them. Also, the vegetables and herbs were minced tiny tiny tiny. Don’t use a food processor though, or they’ll be too watery. I served the crab cakes with a dollop of the creamy dill dressing I’ve posted before.

½ pound lump crab meat
½ pound crab claw meat
½ small red onion, minced
½ red bell pepper, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped green onion
3 tbs prepared brown mustard
1 tbs mayo
2 eggs beaten
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp paprika
Kosher salt/ Cracked Pepper
1 tsp red chile flakes
1 roasting pan with rack. Cover the rack with tin foil and poke lots of holes in it with a fork.

Combine all the ingredients, using a fork, into a barely cohesive mixture. Be careful not to completly break up the lump crab.  In a big cast iron skillet, heat to medium enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan plus a tad (maybe ¼ cup). Form each patty with your hands, packing them well, then place them on a metal spatula and slide them into the oil.  Allow the cake to fry about 1-2 minutes, flip, then fry another 1-2 minutes.  They will just brown in the oil.  Very carefully remove them from the skillet and slide them, using another spatula, onto a cutting board lined with paper towel.  Place the covered roasting rack upside down on the lightly fried cakes. Invert the cutting board so that the cakes are now resting on the rack, remove the board and peel off the paper towel. Place the rack with the crab cakes on the roasting pan.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to them to cool for about 5 minutes before you try to serve them.

Grilled Lobster

July 12, 2008

Yep. I grilled some lobsters.  I maintain that this was fantastic eating.  Andy thinks it was a little difficult to liberate the cooked meat from the crustacean.

2 live lobsters, about 1½ pound each
1 big drizzle garlic olive oil
Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper
Melted butter

Garlic Olive Oil:
1 head of garlic, skinned and smashed
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest of two lemons

Simmer the cilantro, lemon zest, and garlic in the olive oil on medium for about 20 mintues until the oil has picked up the flavor of the herb and the garlic.  Strain into an air tight container and refrigerate the oil for future use.  (Side note: after cooking, the mashed up garlic is great on toast)

Obtain two fresh live lobsters as close to cooking time as possible.  Stick the lobsters in the freezer for about 15 minutes to slow them down. Place a sturdy cutting board on a moist cup towel to prevent slipping.   Remove the lobsters from the freezer.  One at a time, place the lobster on its back on the cutting board.  Use another cup towel for grip.  Force the tip of a large chefs knife into the thorax of the lobster where it meets the tail and then quickly cut down through the thorax and head with the body of the knife, bisecting the upperbody and head of the lobster in one move. (You will be cutting longitudinally between the eyes)  The lobster will continue moving as the nerves begin to die.  Split the lobster completely in half.  Break off both claws, crack them with the back of the kinfe or a mallet. Set them aside.  Rinse the viscera from the lobster under running water.

Drizzle the exposed meat with garlic olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Squeeze over the juice of one lemon.  Place the claws on a grill heated to about 400°F and cover with a pie plate.  Wait about 5 minutes.  Place oiled lobster bodies on the grill, flesh side down.  Cook for about 7 minutes.  Flip and cook another 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Serve with clarified butter and lemon.  I also did some grilled asparagus and grilled Texas Peaches.  Yurm.