Monday, September 28, 2009

Fried Seafood Misto

First let me say, "YEAH, IT'S SATSUMA SEASON!" Welcome back Linda from L'Hoste family farm.

This week our in laws are in town from Ohio, and they love the seafood here in New Orleans. (Duh right) Well when they came to the Farmers Market to see me they just could not help but get a few pounds of shrimp from Kay, at Four Winds seafood. Which worked out great because I had Clara, from Gercia seafood, hold me a couple pounds of her beautiful Sea bream, and some soft shell crabs.
Now with all this beautiful fresh seafood I could of boiled, steamed, grilled or sauteed it. But no, I wanted to fry it. I used to joke around when I first moved here from Seattle about all the fried food. "If it ain't fried, it ain't food", but of course I now see that there is a time to fry and this was the time.
I used the word "Misto" which if you are ever in Italy means fried. It just sounds prettier.
So we had the seafood and is there anything better than french fries to go with fried seafood? Not in our house. So we picked up a couple of Idaho potatoes and started frying.
First I started with the french fries because you have to fry them twice. And this way while they are resting after the first fry you can get the seafood cooked.
French Fries
3 large Idaho potatoes
Wash and peel the the potatoes. Next you want to slice them thin about a qtr inch thick. Now you cut them into match stick size sticks. If you prefer a larger french fry, go a head and cut them the size you prefer.
In a large, thick bottom pot, place about 1/2 gallon of oil in the pot. You need to have room for everything to move and grove.
Bring the oil temperature up to 250 degrees. This is called "Blanching", it will cook the fries slowly so that they are cooked all the way through without getting dark and over cooked on the outside. Cook in batches so that you don't over crowd the pan. Cook for about 5 min. This may vary with the size of the fries. Jut take one out and test it. It should be cooked all the way through with the slightest bite to it. When done remove from the oil and place on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. At this point you can let them cool at room temp. or place them in the refrigerator and they will hold for a few hours.
To finish them off, raise the heat of the oil to 350 degrees and again fry them in batches until golden and crisp. Remove them from the oil and salt them to your taste while they are hot.
(I finish them off after I fry the seafood)
3 soft shell crabs- Cleaned (lungs, eyes and sac removed) and cut in half
2 lbs shrimp- peeled and devained
1lb sea bream - I used the smaller pieces, or you can get the whole filet's
1/2 cup corn starch
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon of black pepper
1/4 cup Spanish paprika
1 1/3 cup water
1- 12 oz bottle of beer
( 2 cups flour, keep separate)
Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to blend. add the liquid, a little at a time and whisk until incorporated.
Place the 2 cups of flour on a plate or platter.
Now your ready to fry.
Pre heat the oven to 250 degrees, and heat oil to 350 degrees.
I like to fry each item separately, they have different cooking times. I salt and pepper each before I drench them in the flour. So you salt and pepper the crab, drench it in the flour and then into the batter. Place in the hot oil. Fry turning each to get even color. Fry for about 5 min. a good way to to tell is if it floats its finished. Salt when hot.
Place the fried crab on a sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags and place in the heated oven. Continue with the remainder of the seafood. The fish and the shrimp will take less time to cook. Again remember when it floats is finished, and don't forget you can always pull one out and test it. Give the fries their second fry to finish them off.
Now just sit down and enjoy your fried feast!
Boun Appetito!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stuffed pork loin with fresh market beans

This simple but beautiful dish is really satisfying. I again am cooking for our dear friends Heather and James. They are hard at work opening up "Coulis" their new breakfast/lunch restaurant where the old "Blue bird" restaurant was on Prytaina street. So it is nice to share a meal with them so they can relax after a long day.

The Crescent City market was bustling on Tuesday. It had been a long, rainy weekend. The only light we saw was the Saints kicking some butt on Sunday!

For this meal I was inspired by the beautiful mix of fresh Beans from B&B Farms. I purchased a pound each of the Baby Lima, Pink Eye Sue, and the Crowder beans. I then Picked up a couple of Creole tomatoes from the Monicas and some goat cheese from Ryals Goat dairy, and I was on my way to a great meal.

Fresh bean salad
1lb each fresh baby Lima, pink eye sue, crowder beans
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
2 creole tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil each type of bean separately in salted water. (I do each separately because they all have different cooking times.) Boil each until tender with a slight bite because we will cook them a little more later. Each should take between 5 and 8 minutes to cook. Just test them as you go. I don't have a specific time, the fresher the bean, the quicker it cooks.
Pour hot bean into a strainer and cool with cold water. This will stop the cooking process.
Next heat up a large non stick skillet. Place the olive oil in and let it heat up over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic and shallots. Let them cook for about 3 minutes to infuse flavors into the oil and soften up. The tomatoes will release their juice.
Add all the beans into the pan. Mix so that everything is well incorporated. Salt and Pepper to taste. (I always say to salt and pepper to taste because every ones pallet is different and ingredients are different also.) Now just let them simmer all together for about 5 to 10 minutes so that some of the liquid evaporates and the flavor all melds together. Be sure not to over cook the beans.
From this point you can add some fresh ricotta or goat cheese from the Ryals dairy if you would like and and toss it in for a different spin.
Stuffed Pork tenderloin

First we have to make the filling. This is so easy.
12 oz goat cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
6-8 sun dried tomatoes
1 bunch Italian parsley, tops only
1 cup pecans (or any nut you prefer)
zest of one lemon
Place all ingredient in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a chunky paste.
Set aside. If you do not have a food processor you can chop it all by hand and mix together.

Now we need to prepare the pork loin. you need to butterfly the pork loin, which means you just need to open it up. I will try to explain. Take you knife and cut down the middle length wise until you get down to 1 inch from the bottom. You do not want to cut all the way through.
Next take you knife and cut along the length of the loin on each side slowly rolling it open.

Salt and pepper well.
The next step is to spread the goat cheese filling over the surface of the pork.

Roll the pork up like you would a jelly roll. Tie with string down the length of the loin so that it will stay closed during cooking. Salt and pepper the out side of the loin.

Place 1/4 cup of canola oil in a large skillet. Heat on medium high. Place the pork roll in the pan and brown on all sides. Place the browned pork roll on a greased sheet pan. Bake in a pre heated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 min. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 min before slicing. this will let the juices go back into the meat.

Slice and serve with the Fresh been salad.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shrimp en papillote

My first job in New Orleans was at Mr B's, In the French Quarter. One day I came in to work my shift on the back line, and Chef told me that there was a new dish coming off my station, Gulf fish "en papillote". I thought,"cool", I had learned to make them in Culinary School. No problem, but then I realized I had to make at least 60 of them before the start of service.

Lets just say that I got to be real good at them!

Last night we had our dear friends over with their son, our godson, and I thought that Kobe might get a kick out of cooking his dinner in a bag. And I was right, he thought it was the coolest thing. So cool that he ate shrimp that was not fried for the first time with no complaints.

The most time consuming part of this dish is getting the compound butter made.

Compound butter:

1/2 (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are incorporated completely. Roll the compound butter into a log and place in the refrigerator. Let harden to a solid log. (or it can be placed in the freezer for future use.)


6 oz pasta per person
I used angel hair pasta, but you can use any pasta you like

Boil pasta until JUST "al dente" so that it still has a bite to it. This is important because the pasta will continue to cook in the oven.

Blanch the pasta in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well, toss with olive oil to keep it from sticking, and set aside.

"Mis en place"

This is important when making papillote. It simply means "everything in it's place."
For this dish you need to have the following items set up and ready to go.

parchment paper - cut into a heart shape. If you don't have access to large parchment you can use two pieces for each portion.

Cooked cooled pasta

Compound butter - cut into 2 oz logs

Shrimp - peeled and devained. I like to leave the tail on. 6 to 8 per person

Melted butter- this is to coat the paper with so that it seals the bag and holds in the steam.

Salt and Pepper

First step is to brush the melted butter over the parchment paper. (As Kobe does with complete concentration)

Next you layer the ingredients on one side of the parchment. First I laid the pasta down, then the shrimp, topped it off with two pieces of the compound butter, salt and pepper.

The next step is to fold the ends of the parchment so that it makes a pocket around the food. Just fold a little as a time, making sure that it is completely sealed.

Place on a sheet pan. From this point you can place them in the refrigerator to hold until you are ready to cook them or you can put them directly in the oven.

Bake them for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

When you pull them out of the oven they will be puffed up from the steam inside. Now you just need to put them on a plate, cut the top oven and enjoy!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


This month I had a lot of request for Gougers. The classic cheesy puffs perfect for an hors d'oeuvre party.

Making the Pate a Choux, I started to think of all the wonderful things you can make with this puffy egg dough. And Eclairs just seemed to stick in my mind until I just had to make them.

I love the combination of flavors that dance in your mouth as you bite into them. First you get the the subtle egg flavor from the puff, then the cool, smooth vanilla from the pastry cream and to finish it off, the rich chocolate. I like to use 78% cocoa to contrast the sweetness of the pastry cream. They are like a grown up filled doughnut!

First lets make the Pate Choux:


1 cup all purpose flour or bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
4-5 whole eggs
1. Place the water, milk, and butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.

2. Sift together the flour, sugar and salt.
3. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil add the flour mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for at least 3 min. until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the side of the pan to form a ball. You want to cook out the flour flavor and develop the glutens.

4. Place the dough into a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or you can use a hand mixer. Mix the dough on low speed for about 1 or 2 minutes until the dough cools. I can usually tell its ready when the steam dissipates.

5. Add one egg at a time, letting the dough to absorb each egg and scrape down the sides of the
bowl after each egg with a rubber spatula.

6. After the 4th egg, test the dough by placing small amount between your thumb and index
finger, then pull the fingers apart. If the dough breaks add the fifth egg. The dough should
stretch rather then break and be smooth and shinny. You can use the dough now or store it
in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

To make eclairs, fill a pasty bag fitted with a star tip and pipe 12 - 4 inch strips spaced at least
one inch apart. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees rotate the pan, place a wooden spoon in the oven to prop the door open and bake for about 18 to twenty minutes longer, or until they are nutty brown.

Pastry cream


2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped. Or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, softened
1. Place the milk 1/4 cup of the sugar, the vanilla,(use the bean if you can) in a non aluminum
sauce pan and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, sift the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, flour and the salt together.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the eggs and whisk until fluffy.
4. Once the milk comes to a simmer add one ladle to the egg mixture and whisk. this is to temper
the eggs so that they do not curdle.
5. once 1/2 cup of the milk is incorporated add remaining egg mixture to the milk and return to the stove top.
6. Rapidly whisk the pastry cream. The mixture should start to thinken within one minute.
Continue to whisk until it has the consistency of pudding.
7. Strain the pasty cream though a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Add the butter and stir until
it is incorporated. Cover the top with plastic wrap, directly on the cream
It can be cooled to room temp and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Melt one cup of the best chocolate you can get.
Cut the eclairs in half and dip the top half into the melted chocolate.
Place in a refrigerator until the chocolate hardens
Pipe the pastry cream onto the bottom of the eclair and place the top of the eclair on the pastry cream. Eat immediately! Or if you have more self control then I do you can hold them completed they can hold refrigerated for 4 hours.