Red Grouper with Crawfish Au Gratin Sauce

Red Grouper with Crawfish Au Gratin Sauce… which really means, a rich and creamy white wine sauce.

I had all those amazing leftover crawfish from Tuesday and decided to make a little cream sauce out of the tails to go over some fresh fish. I was originally going to use Red Snapper, but the guy at the seafood market talked me into the red grouper filets, and they did not disappoint.

The basic recipe I used for the cream sauce is very similar to the one I use for my sauteed crab claws. It’s to die for. Seriously. You’ll want to drink this stuff. (But don’t. It would probably kill you. You’d definitely feel your arteries starting to clog immediately.) Try to resist. It’s a very easy sauce to make and I always make bread to go with it, because you’re gonna be looking for other stuff to dip in it, trust me.

I started with a little olive oil in my pan on med high heat, and added one good sized minced shallot. Once it started to get fragrant, I added a little minced garlic, then some diced sun dried tomatoes.

 

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Minced shallot, diced sun dried tomatoes, and chopped fresh parsley

Once these are nice and fragrant, I add about 3/4 cup of white wine. Whatever I happen to be drinking.  Any white wine. (Except for Moscato or Reisling. If you’re drinking those, we need to talk. Email me. It’s time for an intervention.) I’m partial to wines from Oregon or California but that’s me.

 

 

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My choice for this recipe

Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan as it deglazes. Add a little chicken stock base. I use the Roasted Chicken “Better than Bouillon” base because it is amazing. About a tbs. Cut your heat down. Let this simmer and reduce by about half. Add a little crushed red pepper, dried thyme, dried basil, and chopped fresh parsley. Now for the butter. Do yourselves a favor people, and buy good quality butter. It’s worth it. I like fresh farm butter but whatever you can find, just make sure it’s unsalted. This dish will be plenty salty without adding any salt to it.

Cut your heat down to low. Add your cold butter in small squares and allow to melt into sauce, without stirring. Every now and then, I give the pan a shake but that’s it. Next add the cream. Then the fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Because my crawfish were already cooked, I added them last. I just wanted them to warm up, not cook any more.

Serve this sauce over your pan seared fish. I plated this on a little bed of arugula that I had lightly tossed in a vinaigrette, and served it with some roasted asparagus and potatoes. Side note on the potatoes- I used my leftover boiled fingerling potatoes from my crawfish boil and put them on a foil lined cookie sheet. I smashed them and put a little melted butter with garlic on top and baked them at 425 for about 15 minutes. Easy and a good way to reinvent my potatoes from the other night.

 

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Before popping them in the oven…

 

Oh, and I grated a little fresh parm on top of them too because, why not?

Give this sauce a try. Then try it with blue crab claws. The recipe is the same, just substitute the crab claws for the crawfish tails. Sometimes with the crab claws, when it’s done, I add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top and pop the pan in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese and the sauce will thicken just a bit. Don’t forget the bread. And when you’re tempted to drink the sauce, drink the rest of your wine instead. That’s how I do it.

 

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The sauce just after it’s been reduced while incorporating the butter

 

Red Grouper with Crawfish Au Gratin Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tbs olive oil

2 large fresh fish filets, such as snapper or grouper, cut into serving size pieces

1 lb crawfish tails, cooked

1 minced shallot

2 minced garlic cloves

2 tbs diced sun dried tomatoes

3/4  c  white wine

1 tbs chicken stock base

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried thyme

 a pinch of crushed red pepper, to your taste

1 tbs fresh parsley, roughly chopped

8 oz unsalted butter, cut into squares

2 oz unsalted butter, for the fish

1 c  heavy cream

4 oz fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat olive oil in heavy sauce pan over med high heat. Add minced shallot. Cook until it becomes fragrant, a couple of minutes. Add garlic. Stir. After a minute, add sun dried tomatoes. Stir. Cook 2 minutes. When it’s starting to brown, add wine and cut heat down to med low. Scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring. Add the chicken base and the seasoning. Bring sauce to a simmer and reduce. Allow sauce to simmer until reduced by about half. Slowly, add the 8 oz of butter, one pat at a time, without stirring. Allow to melt before adding another pat. Shake the pan a little to incorporate. Once butter is fully incorporated add the cream. Stir. Simmer. Add parmesan cheese. After the cheese is fully incorporated, add crawfish and allow sauce to heat through, without coming to a simmer.

While sauce is simmering, heat another pan to med high heat. Pat dry fish filets and season on both sides with a blackening or cajun seasoning of your choice. Add 2 oz of butter to pan. Once butter is melted, add fish filets to pan, without crowding them. Allow them to cook approx 5- 7 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. You want them to form a nice crust on the bottom before you turn them. Flip fish over and add another 2 oz of butter, a fresh squeezed lemon slice if you have it and fresh thyme to pan. Use the melted butter in the pan to continuously baste fish. After another 5 minutes or when fish has a nice golden crust on bottom, remove from pan and serve immediately. Once the fish has been plated, cover in crawfish au gratin sauce and top with a little bit more grated Parmesan cheese.

Louisiana Crawfish Boil (Gulf Breeze Style)

This post is slightly delayed… in that, I meant to post this on this past Ash Wednesday, as I cooked this for dinner the night of Fat Tuesday. What can I say? Busy week. Although, also somewhat productive as I finally got our taxes filed. (Insert blah face here.) So, I love seafood. Seriously. Could eat it every meal. Raw oysters are up there at the top of my list. Ok, any oyster except for fried, is at the top of my list. (Oh and do I have some good recipes for baked oysters that I’ll have to share soon.) But one thing tops even oysters for me- crawfish. You just can’t beat a good and spicy, perfectly cooked crawfish.

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After….
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Before…..

 

They’re only in season from about December to June, so I do my best to eat as many as possible during that short time frame. In fact, I’ll be doing this again in a couple of weeks for my birthday. (It’s what I’m giving myself.) So, anyway, to do this you need an outdoor propane cooker, and a really big pot. Mine is a 40 qt but they come in all sorts of sizes. You also need lots of spices and some fresh lemons and then you can get as creative as you like with what vegetables/ sides you add. 

 

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I put corn, potatoes, artichokes, conecuh sausage, and mushrooms in mine, but there are a lot of things that would work. Just add them in accordance to how long they take to cook.

 

 

Give it a try, you won’t be sorry. Here’s how to do it:

 

Louisiana Crawfish Boil (Gulf Breeze Style)

Ingredients:

Live Crawfish (approx 4-5 lbs per person), purged

1 small bag of red potatoes (I used fingerling potatoes because that’s what I had. Baby Yukon gold potatoes would be fine too.)

6 frozen corn nibblers

1 8 oz package mushrooms

1 1 lb package of smoked conecuh sausage cut into pieces

2 whole artichokes “topped”

2 onions, quartered

2 lemons

2 naval oranges

6 cloves of garlic, peeled

6 boxes of Zatarain’s Crab Boil in bag

1 tbs Zatarain’s Concentrated liquid Shrimp and Crab boil

1 tbs whole grain mustard

2 tbs whole peppercorns

2 bay leaves

fresh thyme

Feel free to add some cayenne to kick up the heat. Once again, I am keeping it kid friendly.

Directions:

Fill 40 qt pot 3/4 full of water. Turn on propane cooker on high. Add all the spices listed above to the water, including the mustard. Half the lemons and oranges, squeeze the juice in the water and throw them in the pot too. Bring to a hard boil. Add potatoes and cut heat down a little, but continue to boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes. Add the artichokes, mushrooms, sausage, and onions. Continue to boil another 10 minutes. Add live crawfish. This will bring your water temperature down. When water returns to a boil, cut the heat off, add the frozen corn and let crawfish sit for approximately 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove/ drain everything from the pot, throw it on a table covered in newspapers, grab some paper towels and a cold beer (I like to dip my tails in Louisiana hot sauce too, and a little dijon mustard for my sausage so I bring that too.) and enjoy!!

 

Seafood Etoufee

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I don’t know about where you guys are, but down here we know how to do Mardi Gras right. Pensacola isn’t quite as big as Mobile’s celebration and certainly doesn’t get all the acclaim that New Orleans does, but don’t let that fool you. The earliest documented Mardi Gras celebrations were held in Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans and finally, Pensacola.

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Historic Pensacola

 

Mardi Gras is a whole lot of fun. I mean, what’s not to love? The booze, the debauchery, the FOOD…. (I’ll admit, that’s what I’m really in it for.) So, this year I thought I’d try my hand at etoufee. Monday evening my brother was in town and we were enjoying ourselves out on the beach when time got away from me. (Had nothing to do with the mojitos. I swear.) So, in a rush, I stopped by my local market and grabbed some steamed snow crab legs, shrimp and a filet of Mahi. The mahi was for my one child that doesn’t always like shrimp, and as he’s a teenager and eats more than the rest of us combined, I like to be prepared. So, leftovers. My point is leftovers. I had shrimp, crab legs, and mahi sitting in the fridge begging to be used.

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My facorite Mardi Gras “Krewe”

Thus, I came up with my version of a seafood etoufee. Or gumbo. Or whatever you want to call it. At my house, we call it GOOD. I made my own stock, just because it’s simple and I think it adds depth to a dish. Here’s a link to my seafood stock recipe, in case you don’t know how to make one.Seafood Stock. But chicken stock will do fine as a substitute. Feel free to substitute out the seafood with your personal preferences, I certainly did.

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Seafood Etoufee

 

 

Seafood Etoufee

4 tbs butter

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbs flour

2 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

1 med yellow onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 potatos, diced

4 cups of seafood stock, (or chicken)

1 cup dry white wine

1 5 oz lobster tail

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 lb lump crab meat, peeled and deveined

1 filet of fish (your choice, but a white fish is best. ), cut into small pieces

1 tsp fresh parsley minced

1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 tsp frsh thyme, choppe

dash of paprika

dash of cayenne

juice of 1 lemon

1 c heavy cream

3 cups whole milk

Directions:

Heat butter in the bottom of large heavy pot, such as a dutch oven at med heat. Add celery, onion and sweet corn. Cook until it starts to soften. Add flour, stirring frequently. Slowly add stock, stirring to incorporate the flour mixture. Add wine. Add potatoes. Simmer about 10 minutes. Cut heat down, to low simmer. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and lemon juice (I also added a tbs of tomato paste, because it was open and waste not, want not.) Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in all the seafood, add more stock if needed, just to cover. Cook until fish barely flakes. Add in cream, and milk. (Disclaimer- these measurements are to your own liking. If you like it a little thicker, cut back on the stock. A little creamier, have a heavier hand with the cream. Add a little until you get it to your desired consistency. To each his own.) Allow the stew to warm through until at a bare simmer. Serve over rice.

Dijon Wine Reduction Lamb Chops

This is my first official blog post ever so I’m simultaneously saying welcome and apologizing! Bear with me as I figure this stuff out…..

I have always had a very real love affair with food. And not just food,  but wine and condiments (Dijon mustard being at the very top of that list) and pretty much everything else decadent in life. My love of food and drink is rivaled only by my love of the Gulf. Living here in Gulf Breeze gives me the awesome experience of combining the two, and that is what this blog is about. I have no formal culinary training (assuming hours of watching Top Chef and Chopped doesn’t count) and everything I know about cooking I learned watching TV or through trial and error. Sometimes I get it wrong, but sometimes I get it really, really right. So, I thought I’d share some of the right times, and I hope you enjoy!

Spring comes early down here (in the Florida panhandle). I don’t care what that stupid groundhog saw or didn’t see, whatever. It’s February 21st today and I’m wearing flip flops. Yesterday, I was on the beach in a bikini and cover up. But I digress….

Although it might seem early in the season to be cooking lamb chops, down here it already feels like mid Spring. Which must be why I was inspired to cook this dish tonight….

I served this with roasted Brussels sprouts and pancetta, and Yukon gold melting potatoes, both recipes I will post later….

Dijon Wine Reduction Lamb Chops

1 shallot, minced

1 tbs whole grain Dijon mustard

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup of white wine

1 lemon, juiced

12 French ribbed lamb chops

1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped finely

1 tbs chives, chopped finely

1 tbs garlic, minced

2 tbs cold butter, cut into pats

Directions:

Salt and pepper lamb chops. Heat  1 tbs olive oil in large saute pan to med high heat. Cook lamb chops 2-3 mins, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. (Depending on how well you want them done. I like mine med rare.) Remove from pan, set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add chicken stock and wine to deglaze pan, scraping all the good pieces off the bottom. Add shallot and garlic and allow sauce to simmer until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

Stir in Dijon mustard, lemon juice and cut heat down to simmer. Add butter slowly, one pat at a time.  Once butter is incorporated completely, add chives and rosemary and cut heat off. Serve pork chops with sauce on top.