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.
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!