High schools, colleges and the pros are revving up for football season. I am making a list and checking it twice to be sure I have lots of things stashed in the freezer for tailgating or watching the games on television. You too should consider gathering a supply of appetizers and party food for your gatherings as well. Cajungrocer.com offers everything from mini crawfish and shrimp pies, to stuffed mushrooms and stuffed jalapenos, which I call poppers – you know, they can be popped in the mouth AND they give you a good pop of flavor!
Another item that has caught my attention is Randol’s crabmeat stuffing, which I consider quite versatile since it can be used for stuffing everything from fillets of fish to large shrimp. Having the ready-made stuffing can save time and effort, but if you want to make stuffed shrimp from scratch, here is a recipe that you might want to try.
- Makes 48
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- Â½ cup finely chopped celery
- Â½ cup finely chopped bell pepper
- 1 Â½ pounds crabmeat
- 2 pounds small shrimp, boiled and peeled
- 4 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Â¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Â¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 8 tablespoons bread crumbs
- To assemble:
- 4 dozen large shrimp, peeled and butterflied
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- Â½ cup water
- 1 Â½ cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Â¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Oil for deep-frying
Make the stuffing by melting the butter in a large skillet. SautÃ© the onions, celery and bell pepper until transparent. Add the crabmeat, shrimp, green onions, parsley, salt and pepper and cook for two to three minutes, stirring to combine well. Remove from heat and add the eggs and breadcrumbs and mix well. Allow to cool. Place about a tablespoon of the stuffing in the split of the shrimp, molding the stuffing with your fingers. In a small bowl combine the eggs, milk and water and mix well. In another bowl, combine the corn meal, salt and cayenne. Roll the shrimp in the cornmeal, then dip in the egg mixture, then again in the cornmeal. Deep fry for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm with tartar sauce – you might want to try our tartar sauce (Louisiana Tartar Sauce).
When September rolls around, I anxiously await the first cold front to blow through so I can dig into some freshly shucked oysters. There’s nothing better in my book, than icy cold oysters dabbed with cocktail sauce washed down with an equally cold brew! But, there are other things I like to do with our Louisiana oysters.
This is made in a small casserole pan but can be adapted to put in oyster shells or small ramekins.
- Makes 4 Servings
- 2 dozen raw oysters; shucked
- 1/2 stick butter
- 4 chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 8 artichoke hearts, mashed
- Salt and cayenne to taste
- 1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Arrange the oysters in a single layer in a baking dish. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they are just soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and cayenne.
Spoon the mixture over the oysters and top with mashed artichokes. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese melts completely, 10 to 15 minutes.
CREAM OF ARTICHOKE AND OYSTERS
- Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 1 stick (8 ounces) butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups chopped onions
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 cups chopped and drained artichoke hearts or bottoms (packed in water)
- 6 ounces heavy cream
- 1 pint (or more freshly shucked oysters), drained (or if you like, add the liquor as well)
- Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour. Whisk for three to four minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until just clear, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the stock, whisking, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the artichokes. Add the cream and simmer for about five minutes. Add the oysters and simmer until the edges curl, three to four minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Serve hot.
DUCK, ANDOUILLE AND OYSTER GUMBO
Makes about 8 servings
If and when the ducks hunters come in with their limit, make this gumbo, freeze and pull it out for a dinner during the holidays.
- 2 mallards, cleaned and cut into serving pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 cup plus 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 2 cups chopped bell peppers
- 6 to 8 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 pound andouille, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 dozen oysters, shucked, with their liquor
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Season the ducks pieces with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large, heavy pot (preferably black iron) over medium heat. Add the duck pieces and brown, stirring often. Remove the duck and set aside.
To the same pot add the remaining 1 cup vegetable oil and the flour. Stirring constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft.
Add the water or stock (the amount will depend on how thick or thin you like your gumbo). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the duck pieces and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours.
Add the andouille and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Add the oysters and their liquid and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges of the oysters curl. Remove from the heat. Add the parsley and serve immediately over steamed rice in gumbo bowls.
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