Categories

About Marcelle

Get Updates

Search Recipes

Feed Me

Get Email Updates

JULY/AUGUST 2013

The Fourth of July, possibly the quintessential American celebration and the only big holiday of the summer season, is a grand excuse for a party with family and friends.

My husband really gets into the spirit. He puts out not one or two, but three American flags on various flagpoles around the yard. Small American flags on sticks are jabbed into flowerpots, window boxes, and in the flower bed that borders the driveway. Red, white and blue bunting adorns our pier and party barge. Mounds of red, white and blue napkins and paper plates are always at the ready. He even found twenty-four matching bright blue glass goblets that he thinks are just the thing to set the mood for the holiday.

He also likes to plan the menu to include lots of red items—strawberries, watermelons and lobsters. Blueberries, and drinks he’s christened with names like Blue Parrots and Blue Lagoons represent blue. And white can be anything from homemade vanilla ice cream to angel food cakes.

Burgers are always fun and welcome for any outdoor occasion. All that is necessary is to prep the meat patties, toss them on the grill, and supply condiments and buns for everyone to dress their own.

Since I’m a great burger fan, I have several of my personal favorites that just might inspire you for the Fourth, or for any summertime occasion.

Spicy burgers
Makes 6 servings
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 6 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, oregano, hot sauce and barbecue sauce. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix well, but do not overwork. Shape into patties. Grill (or broil in the oven) the meat to five to six minutes on each side, or until all pink disappears. Don’t press down on them with a spatula! You’re draining all the taste out!

Place the burgers on the toasted buns and dress.



Blue cheese burgers
Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 to 6 toasted buns
Combine the beef, pork, chives, salt, pepper, soy sauce and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Shape the mixture into patties. Then, make a pocket in the center of each patty and fill each with a tablespoon of the blue cheese. Close the pocket by pinching the meat together. Grill for five to six minutes on each side, or until all pink disappears. Serve on toasted buns.

This final recipe is one of my favorites. I like dousing the burgers, as I eat, with lots of hot sauce!



California burgers
Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground lamb
  • 1/2 pound lean veal
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 medium-size ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 4 to 6 toasted buns
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meats, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well and shape into patties. Grill (or broil) for five to six minutes on each side, or until all pink disappears.

In a small bowl, combine the avocados, lime juice, hot sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Spread the avocado mixture on the buns and place a hamburger patty on top. Dress with grilled onions or tomatoes, or whatever strikes your fancy!
And what could be better than a cool coleslaw to serve with the burgers.



Best coleslaw
Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • 2 cups shredded white cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded spinach
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
Toss the cabbage, spinach, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, and parsley in a large salad bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar and mix well.
Add the mixture to the salad bowl and toss to mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.



Red, White and Blue Cheesecake
Makes 10 to 12 servings

Crust:
  • 28 chocolate wafers, ground fine in a blender or food processor (about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
Filling:
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
To make the crust, stir together the cookie crumbs and the butter until the mixture is well blended. Pat the mixture onto the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Chill for 30 minutes. For the filling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl with an electric mixture beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is well blended. Beat in the flour and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, the zests, the salt and vanilla until all is well blended.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake the cheesecake in a foil-lined shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven for one hour and 10 minutes. The cheesecake will not be completely set, but will set as it cools. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the oven door propped open about six inches until it is cooled completely. Cover and chill the cheesecake for at least six hours.

Remove from pan. Arrange the raspberries or strawberries on top of the cheesecake in a star shape. Then arrange the blueberries around the star to cover the top of the cheesecake. To serve, cut into thin slices.
Hope you enjoy your 4th of July!



BASTILLE DAY

Vive la France! Don’t put away those red, white and blue decorations from the Fourth of July just yet. Just exchange out the American flags for French flags and you’re set to celebrate Bastille Day (July 14) to commemorate the French Revolution. With so many of us of French descent or with a French connection, it’s yet another reason to have another summer celebration.

Break out the best of your French champagne, or offer aperitifs to stimulate the appetite, and serve a festive hors d’ouevre that can be as simple as rillettes de saumon fume, (a smoked salmon spread) or the best store-bought pate you can find. Follow with a very French (but simple) dinner of Steak au Poivre, Pommes Pailles, and Tomatoes Provencale.



RILLETTES DE SAUMON FUME
Makes 4 appetizer servings
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions, white part only
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
  • Toast points or croutons
In a food processor puree two thirds of the salmon with the creme fraiche or sour cream, the butter and the zest and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Chop the remaining salmon and stir it into the mixture with the green onions, lemon juice, salt, cayenne and the snipped dill. Using two teaspoons dipped in cold water form spoonfuls of the rillettes into oval mounds, arranging three mounds on each of four small plates. (The rillettes may be made one day in advance and keep covered and chilled in the refrigerator.) Garnish the rillettes with the dill sprigs and serve with toast points or croutons.



STEAK AU POIVRE
Makes 4 servings
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 4 (1/2-pound) beef fillets, each about 3/4 inch thick
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Cayenne
  • Watercress or parsley sprigs for garnish
Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or in a peppermill. Press the pepper into both sides of the steaks. Season the steaks with salt to taste. In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil and the butter over moderately high heat until the foam subsides. Add the steaks and cook for two to two and one half minutes on each side, or until they are just springy to the touch, for medium-rare, or longer if you prefer the steaks to be medium. Transfer the steaks to a platter and keep them warm. Pour off almost all of the oil in the skillet. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until it softened. Add the Cognac and cook until the mixture is reduced to a glaze on the bottom of the pan. Add the broth and boil until the mixture is reduced by half. Add the cream and boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is thickened slightly. Season the sauce with salt and cayenne to taste. Pour the sauce into a warmed sauceboat. Garnish the steaks with the watercress or parsley and serve the sauce separately.



POMMES PAILLES
Makes 4 servings
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet (baking) potatoes
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Salt, cayenne and fresh ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and drop them into a large bowl of ice water. With a mandoline or similar slicing device, cut the potatoes lengthwise into very thin sticks, dropping the sticks as they are cut into the bowl of water. Toss the potatoes in the water to wash off excess starch, drain, then pat them dry between several layers of paper towels. Heat the oil to about 360 degrees F. and deep fry the potatoes in small batches for about two minutes, or until they are golden. Remove each batch and drain them on paper towels. Season the potatoes with salt, cayenne and black pepper. (The potatoes can be made several hours in advance. Just before serving spread them in a large roasting pan and heat them in a 325 degrees F. oven for five to 10 minutes, or until they are crisp and hot.)



TOMATOES PROVENCALE
Makes 4 servings
  • 4 medium, ripe tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for brushing the tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 flat anchovy fillet, rinsed, dried and minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and black pepper
Cut off the top third from each tomato and discard. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Brush the outside of the tomatoes with some of the olive oil. Put the tomatoes, cut sides up, on a lightly oiled shallow baking pan and season the inside of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Bake the tomatoes in a preheated 325 degrees F. oven for 20 minutes. Remove and invert them over paper towels and let them drain for about 15 minutes. In a small bowl toss together the bread crumbs, the anchovy, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture equally among the tomatoes and stuff into the cavities. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the three tablespoons of olive oil. Return the tomatoes to the shallow baking pan and broil about four inches from the heat for about two to three minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden brown.


JUNE/JULY 2013

Bring on summer! I’m ready for a sno-ball, cold beer (make mine Abita Amber), a dip in the pool, a boat ride on the bayou, and crabs prepared every which way.

About this time of year as soon as school is out, a cousin of mine and I head out to Vermilion Bay to put out the crab traps, baited with chicken necks, on the pier of our camp. In between checking the traps, we sometimes sink a line in the slate-gray salty water in hopes of catching a redfish or speckled trout, or even a stray flounder. Fresh fish and crabmeat make for a great dinner pairing.



TROUT OR REDFISH ROULADES
Makes 6 servings
  • 6 fillets of trout or redfish, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 pound fresh white button mushrooms, wiped clean, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 pound small shrimp (peeled and deveined) or 1 pound lump crabmeat (picked over for shells and cartilage)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup fine dried bread crumbs (more or less as needed)
  • 1/2 pint half-and-half
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Gently pound the fillets a bit to make them lie flat. Sprinkle with lemon juice and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp or crabmeat and basil, and season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Add ¾ cup of the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and stir so that the mixture binds together. Remove from the heat and cool.

Place a tablespoon or so of the mixture on top of the fish fillet and roll up like a jelly roll. (You may have to use a toothpick to hold the roll together.) Place the roulades in a shallow baking pan with the remaining ¼ cup chicken broth and the half-and half. Dot with the remaining butter. Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.

For a quick sauce, combine 1/4 cup Creole mustard and 1/4 cup mayonnaise and mix well. Drizzle the sauce on the roulades as they come out of the oven.

If we’re lucky enough, we will catch enough crabs to enjoy both a crab boil AND a chilled crabmeat salad plopped on thick slices of ripe tomatoes.



CRABMEAT SALAD

Makes 4 servings
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 dashes hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Creole mustard
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. The salad can be served atop a mound of salad greens, on thick slices of tomatoes, or in an avocado half. It can also be served as an hors d’ouevre, with crackers or toast points.

If you’ve never had soft-shell crabs, then please give yourself a real treat. (You can purchase them on this website.)

This recipe does take a little time to pull together, but it’s time well spent.



STUFFED SOFT-SHELL CRABS AND JAMBALAYA

Makes 6 servings
  • 6 jumbo soft-shell crabs
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups stale bread crumbs
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 (3-ounce) jar diced pimientos
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups cracker meal
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying
Clean the soft-shell crabs by cutting across the face with a pair of kitchen shears. Remove the eye sockets and the lower mouth. Carefully lift up the apron and remove the gills. Gently rinse with cool water and pat dry.

Cook the green onions, garlic, crabmeat, and shrimp in the wine for several minutes over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and the bread crumbs. Stir to mix. Add the mushrooms, egg yolks and pimientos. Mix gently. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Chill the stuffing for at least one hour or until firm.

Carefully lift the shoulders on each crab and gently press about one tablespoon of the stuffing into this area. Press the shoulders down to hold the stuffing. Be careful not to break off any of the legs of the crabs. Lay the crabs on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne.

Combine the flour with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper in a shallow bowl. In a mixing bowl combine the buttermilk and the eggs. Whisk to blend. Put the cracker meal in another shallow bowl.

Heat the oil to 360 degrees in a deep pot.

Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour, then dip them in the buttermilk mixture. Then dredge them in the cracker meal, making sure that the legs are well breaded.

Hold each crab by the body, allowing the legs to dip into the hot oil for a few seconds before dropping the whole crab into the hot oil. Fry the crabs until they float to the surface of the oil and are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

For the jambalaya:
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (1-pound) can whole tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
Heat the shortening in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir over medium heat to make a golden brown roux. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes and the tomato sauce and cook until an oil film rises to the surface.

Stir in the rice, salt, cayenne, water and shrimp. Cover and cook over a low heat until the rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry. Serve the crabs, legs up, over a bed of jambalaya. Ladle a tablespoon of CREOLLAISE SAUCE over the crabs. Garnish with a wedge of lemon and fried parsley.



CREOLLAISE SAUCE
  • 2 cups béarnaise sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
Combine the sauce and mustard and keep warm.

Ahhh yes, bring on summertime!


MAY/JUNE 2013

HERBS – A BOUQUET OF IDEAS

My first encounter with fresh herbs was years ago when my Tante Belle showed me her crop of peppermint that grew profusely under the faucet that protruded from her screen porch. During the summer months when it was almost too hot too move, she would make a huge pitcher of homemade lemonade.

As far as I was concerned it was extra special, made so by the addition of fresh mint sprigs that were stirred in right before serving. I also remember her hacking out a big chunk of ice from the big block that was wrapped in a sack and stored in her old-time ice box. Then with her trusty red-handled ice pick, she would splinter the ice into smaller pieces which were then wrapped in a clean kitchen towel. That’s when I would step in, and with a hammer pound the ice into finely crushed crystals which was added to the lemonade. Armed with a tray loaded with the lemonade and big tall glasses, we would head out to a great old swing hanging from a massive oak tree in her back yard to sit until the cool of the evening set in. I’ll never forget the scent and taste of that mint in the lemonade.

Another herb I grew accustomed to was parsley.

Tante Bell’s sister Tante May was fond of fresh parsley and always had a plot of it near the door to her kitchen. Nary a pot of gumbo or soup, or a plate of food, went unadorned by a few sprigs of the bright green herb. She often put a few leaves in her mouth while she cooked, saying it rejuvenated her taste buds.

Lemon verbena was a favorite of Aunt Grace, who had several shrubs growing near her old cistern. Most of her crop was hung to dry in her potting shed, then was crushed and put into small muslin bags to stash in her linen closet. However, I do remember her stuffing a handful or two into the cavity of a roasting hen. Ah, the fragrance was delightful.

Through the years I have come to love many fresh herbs and the foods they enhance. During the summer I enjoy slivers of fresh basil leaves sprinkled on slices of Creole tomatoes. Practically all year round, I love to add several sprigs of rosemary to a pot of pork or veal. Cilantro (also known as coriander or Chinese parsley) goes well with tomatoes too, and I also like to add some leaves to green salads or to sprinkle some on baked fish.

There’s so many things to do with herbs; remember a chef telling me that herbs can change a dish from a $1.00 dish to a $10.00 dish. These days, many supermarkets carry a fairly good assortment so you have no excuse for not trying some out. And many herbs can be easily grown in pots on a sunny window sill. Right now, during the warmer months, is an ideal time to do some experimenting. Team them with fresh garden vegetables, or use them when grilling meats and fowl. Toss fresh thyme leaves in olive oil and pour over steaks, pork chops or sausage before grilling. Come on, there are really no hard and fast rules about what goes with what. That’s the fun of it.


This tangy and refreshing Middle Eastern cracked wheat salad makes a light summer meal or served with grilled chicken or kabobs.

TABBOULEH

Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 1/4 bulgur
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley leaves, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Romaine leaves, cleaned and patted dry
Rinse the bulgur and place in a bowl covered by one inch of water. Allow to soak for one hour.

In a hot, ungreased skillet, carefully toast the coriander and allspice. Then remove and cool. Grind with a pestle and mortar or in a small food processor. Set aside.

Sprinkle the tomatoes and cucumbers with salt and allow to drain in a colander. Set aside for about 15 minutes.

When the bulgur has absorbed the water, drain in a colander, then squeeze out any remaining moisture with your hands to prevent sogginess. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, onions, parsley, mint, crush pepper, and the coriander and allspice. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil and toss to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the tabbouleh on the Romaine leaves to serve.


This herb-flavored butter is great to spread on corn-on-the-cob, or tossed with fresh green beans that have been blanched in boiling water for several minutes, or tossed with pasta.

BASIL-GARLIC BUTTER
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
Combine all of the ingredients and stir to mix well. Can be refrigerated or served at room temperature.


If you’re successful with growing mint, it can sometimes get out of hand, but there are many things to do with mint. This mint sauce can be drizzled on lamb chops or grilled chicken breasts, or cooked carrots.

SUMMER MINT SAUCE

Makes 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the water and the mint leaves. Remove from the heat and let stand for at least one.

If you wish, you can strain the syrup, but I rather like the mint leaves in the sauce. It makes it more intense. It can be served warm or at room temperature.

Order some of our frozen tails on our website and plan to celebrate that it’s summertime and the living is easy!

This is a sinfully good and easy way to prepare lobster tails. Defrost the lobsters, then split the shell lengthwise (use kitchen shears) and gently remove the meat. (Allow one tail per person.) On low heat, melt enough butter in which to submerge the lobster tail. Here’s where you can get creative – add a little mashed fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice, a pinch or two of hot sauce, maybe a pinch or two of fresh dill, salt and freshly ground black pepper. On low heat, allow the lobster tails to poach in the mixture – it shouldn’t take longer than 8 to 10 minutes – depending on the size of the lobster tails. Serve the warm, buttery lobster tails on a bed of linguini tossed with garlic and good olive oil, or simply serve them with toasted French bread and thick slices of tomatoes garnished with fresh basil leaves.


MARCH/APRIL 2013

CRAWFISH SEASON


I’m just back from four days in Santa Clara, California attending an international travel promotion show. It was spectacular—complete with areas devoted to zip lines, mountain climbing, a segway course AND a pool in which to bounce around zipped inside huge clear beach balls!


But the Louisiana entourage was THE hit at the culinary stage. I was part of the group with the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival and we cooked a plethora of what else, but crawfish-based dishes. Every time it was announced that we were cooking crawfish, attendees began lining up to taste our sumptuous dishes. On the “menu” was crawfish etouffee, crawfish stuffed bell peppers, crawfish and eggplant fritters with remoulade sauce, crawfish salad in avocado halves, and my personal favorite—crawfish fettuccini.


You had better get your stash of fresh, live crawfish, boiled crawfish, peeled crawfish tails and crawfish puree so you can duplicate our dishes at YOUR house. Don’t forget the French bread!


This can be mixed with rice to make a crawfish jambalaya. I also mixed it with rice and used it as a stuffing for red and green bell peppers.


CRAWFISH STUFFED BELL PEPPERS

  • Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails plus 2 cups crawfish puree
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and cayenne to taste
  • 2 tablespoon chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Cooked long-grain rice:


Heat the butter over medium heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery, and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to throw off a little liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the water and flour mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne. Remove from the heat. Add the green onions and parsley.


Combine the mixture with 3 to 4 cups cooked rice.


For the stuffed peppers:
Cut red and/or green bell peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Put the peppers in a shallow baking pan with about ¼ inch water or chicken broth and bake in a 350-degree oven until the peppers are slightly soft. Drain off the liquid in the pan. Spoon the crawfish/rice mixture into the peppers, sprinkle with bread crumbs and return to the oven. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.



CRAWFISH FRITTERS

  • Makes about 2 dozen
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onions
  • ½ pound peeled crawfish tails
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups solid vegetable shortening for frying

Seasoning mix (combination of 1/8 each of salt, cayenne, black pepper and garlic powder)


Season the eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne. Heat the two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, 2 or 3 minutes.


Add the onions and cook stirring, until soft, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the crawfish and cook, stirring, until they throw off some of their liquid, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.


In medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, baking powder, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon cayenne in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, ¼ cup at a time, beating until the batter is smooth. Add the eggplant and crawfish mixture, and fold to mix.


Heat about 4 fingers of the shortening in a deep pot or electric fryer to 360°F. Drop the batter, a heaping tablespoon at a time, into the hot oil. When the beignets pop to the surface, roll them around in the oil to brown them evenly. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix and serve immediately with the remoulade sauce for dipping.


Remoulade sauce

  • Makes about 2 ½ cups
  • ¼ cup Creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

Put all the ingredients except the oil in an electric blender or food processor. Cover and blend at low speed for 30 seconds. With the motor running, gradually pour in the oil in a steady stream. Sauce will thicken. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. * Since the mayonnaise is made with a raw egg, it’s best to use within 24 hours.



    CRAWFISH IN SPICY CREOLE MUSTARD

    • Makes 8 to 10 appetizer portions
    • 1/4 cup Creole mustard
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup rice or red wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
    • 1 tablespoon ketchup
    • 1/8 teaspoon (about 6 dashes) Tabasco sauce
    • Zest from 1/2 lemon, finely chopped
    • 1 pinch chopped parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped in reserve
    • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions, plus 2 tablespoons chopped in reserve
    • Cracked black pepper to taste
    • 1 ½ pounds peel crawfish tails, rinsed

    Combine all of the ingredients (except for the 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons chopped green onions) in a mixing bowl and whisk until all is well blended. Refrigerate for 24 hours. It may be stored for up to one week. When ready to use, whisk again. To serve, toss the rinsed crawfish tails in some of the sauce, according to your personal taste. Add the reserved parsley and green onions. This is excellent served atop assorted mixed salad greens, or in tomato or avocado halves.



Whenever I have a crowd over for a crawfish supper, this is THE ONE. It’s very rich, creamy and oh, so delicious.


SHRIMP AND CRAWFISH FETTUCCINI

  • 3 sticks butter
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled crawfish tails
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound Gruyere or Fontina cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • Salt and cayenne
  • 1 pound fettuccini, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a heavy, large Dutch oven on medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until they are wilted and lightly golden.


Add the flour and stir to mix. Cook, stirring often, for two to three minutes. Add the parsley, shrimp and crawfish. Cook, stirring often, for about five minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink.


Add the half-and-half, cheese, jalapeno peppers and garlic. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the mixture thickens, about five minutes. Season to taste with salt and cayenne.


Arrange the fettuccini in a three-quart casserole and pour the seafood mixture evenly over it. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture bubbles.


  Loading...