Category Archives: Sauces

Grilled Marinated Pork Loin Chops with recipe for Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce

Lean with a healthy slant, this is a recipe to sink your teeth into.

Did you know pork loin is America’s most popular lean meat? Well, other than chicken, neither did I. And, marinating thick chops are one of our favorite way to flavor this cut of pork as well as putting it on the grill.

The loin roast comes from the upper part area of the hog between the shoulder and the start of the leg. The loin roast is delicious when marinated and grilled quickly over direct heat. For a crisp surface on your chop, be sure the grill is fully preheated before placing the chops on the rack. Of note, if cooking pork loin chops on the stove, again, be sure to use medium high heat. Because of the connecting fibers, these chops should not be braised or stewed as they have a tendency to lose tenderness when cooked by means of moist heat.

Now, according to wiki-how, “the USDA recommends cooking pork to 160 degrees,” that is, if you prefer tough meat, “but it is perfectly safe to cook American pork to 145 degrees. Trichina dies out at 137, and most other ones die at around 140. For those outside American soil, you should probably cook your pork well.”

Enough of all that. I don’t know how many times I have used this marinade on pork chops nor guess how many more times I will in the future. I know it will be many more good eatings.

Tender, juicy and full of flavor, these chops with or without the tangy sauce is spectacular. Hope you get your grill out and get to cooking soon. Enjoy!

Grilled Marinated Pork Loin Chops
glazed with Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce
4 servings

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon low-sodium Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 -1 1/2 to 2 inch thick boneless pork loin chops
Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce -see below

Combine all marinade ingredients in a container or sealable bag and let marinate for 1 to 2 hours refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator and let rest about 30 minutes before grilling.

Heat grill to high heat. Place chops directly over flame and after first sear marks appear on both sides (about 2 minutes each side) reduce heat to medium heat or move away from direct heat. Begin glazing with the Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce. Move chops further away from heat if the sauce darkens too much. You want to coat with several layers of the glaze for a really outstanding taste.

Grill until internal temperature reaches desired range (140 to 155 depending on taste and location). Remove from grill, tent with foil and allow chops to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting or serving. Remember, meat will rise in temperature about 5 degrees after removing from heat source as long as it is tinted.

Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce

A well bodied, full flavored table sauce for pork, poultry, game, fish and seafood – also great for glazing on BBQ or Grilled foods
makes about 1 cup

1 cup yellow prepared mustard
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4-5 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)*
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Mix ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sauce just begins to simmer. Reduce heat and cook stirring often until sauce is reduced in half or thickens to desired consistency. Serve cool or warm.

*Adjust Splenda Blend or brown sugar to taste. To me, Splenda Brown Sugar Blend is sweeter in strength compared with regular brown sugar using the equivalent amount.

You can store sauce in a sealed jar refrigerated for a several weeks.

Making Proper Gravy

How to Make Gravy Like Momma

Southern Kitchen Classics: Gravy Making

Many essential things come from the kitchens of our parents and grandparents. Many are of life’s lessons, a few about cooking and a few with recipes. This one is about cooking.

To our ancestors, making a sauce or gravy was not science but today, we know it is just that. Both sauce and gravy consists of thickening agents combined with a aqueous mixture to increase its viscosity without substantially modifying its other properties, such as taste. To do so properly provides body, increases stability, and improves suspension of added ingredients. Thickening agents include: polysaccharides (starches, vegetable gums, and pectin), proteins (eggs, collagen, gelatin, blood albumin) and fats (butter, oil and lards). All purpose flour is the most popular food thickener, followed by cornstarch, arrowroot, potato or tapioca. All of these thickeners are based on starch as the thickening agent. But unlike the last four agents, only all purpose flour is widely used in making gravy as the cornstarch (which is actually a flour too) and root crops yields clear, translucent gravies and will not brown as in making a roux. source

Now in the south and I mean deep south, the terms gravy and sauce are the same. In fact, sauce is rarely use in many parts and as I remember from my youth, ‘gravy is spooned from the pan and sauce is served at the table’. Here, I use gravy as a compatible word.

There are many ways to make gravy using flour. Three of the basics are:

  • using a slurry which is flour and cold liquid combined and whisked into a base liquid before raising the temperature needed to thicken the sauce. Using this method does allow you to skip the addition of fat.

  • by making a paste of flour and fat (Beurre Manié) and whisking it into a heated base liquid to thicken

  • and the best is by making a roux of flour and fat … period

By using the first two methods to make a gravy, the sauce will not maintain stability and both require a long time to cook out the raw flour taste. By starting with a roux, which is mostly equal part flour and a fat, you cook to break down the flour and rid that raw taste before adding the base liquid.

Now, the best pan to use for a gravy is of course a saucier, but a rounded bottom skillet will do nicely too. And, if you are making dark roux, you want to make sure your saucier, pot or skillet is a heavy, 3-ply or cast iron vessel. A good whisk with many tines along with a flat bottom spatula are the basic tools in making roux for gravy.

So what is the best ratio of ingredients: According to Alton Brown, 1 cup liquid with 1 ounce flour and 1 ounce fat by weight is the trick. source  So if you need 3 cups of gravy, increase all by 3. Momma did not weigh out her ingredients, nor do I. Like her, I do the tablespoon method and it goes like this: for every 1 cup of liquid, make a roux using 2 tablespoons of fat with 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour.

Now, let’s get to making gravy. Melt the fat (lard, oil or butter) over medium heat and when melted hot, whisk in the flour all at once. Whisk good for 2 minutes which the roux should start to thin out or spread a little on its own. At this point, turn down the heat to low and continue whisking. It is here where the level of thickening power is achieved and it is here where depending on how long you stir and cook it determines the color and flavor.

A rule for type of roux, thickening power and cooking time on low heat goes something like this:

White – 1 part roux – cooks about 5 minutes
Blond – 2 parts roux- about 20 minutes of stirring
Tan Chocolate – 3 parts roux – plan on up to a good hour
Dark Creole Brick Red – 4 parts roux – takes up to 2 hours

You see, the lighter the roux, the more thickening power it will have and likewise, the darker it is the less, meaning the more you will need to thicken the same amount of liquid.

I have always followed Momma’s way introducing the roux to the liquid base of both ingredients being hot or at least the liquid being on the warm side and the roux cooled down a bit by removing off-heat or caramelizing vegetables before the liquid’s melding. Chef Brown’s axiom is that the roux should be room temperature and the liquid base hot. I mention this only because I have much faith in Sir Alton. But momma’s way has never let me down. Either way, slowly whisk in about 1/3 of liquid into the roux over high heat forming a paste. This will ensure a smooth, binding gravy. When thickened, add another 1/3 of liquid and whisk until smooth. By using the roux method, the gravy will thicken quickly, at about 150 degrees F. or about the time you first start to see bubbling action breaking the surface. Add more liquid, tablespoons at a time until desired consistency. At this time, your gravy is ready.

Note that gravy made with a flour roux will also cool down quicker than say one made the Beurre manié method. Therefore, it is necessary to thin a roux base gravy down a tad more than you would think knowing it thickens as it cools especially if serving at the table.

As I mention in our family cookbook, Grits to Guacamole, Momma had a flair of making various sauces and would stand over the stove and then cunningly use that same labor intensive sauce over heated vegetables from the freezer. Some of her best sauces or gravies come from a roux base including these:

Béchamel / Creole Creamed Eggs

Béchamel – a white milk gravy made with all purpose flour and butter

Mornay – taking the white gravy and adding cayenne along with Gruyere and Parmesan

Alfredo / Creamy Chicken Alfredo

Alfredo – the white roux gravy adding garlic, Parmesan and a pinch of nutmeg

Soubise – classic Béchamel with the addition of shallots or onion

Velouté / Sweet Onion Apple Pear Gravy

Velouté – a meat flavored sauce using a butter and flour roux along with a base liquid of chicken, fish or veal stock

Paprika – a Velouté with the addition of onion, added butter, paprika and heavy cream

Cheese / Baked Macaroni and Pimento Cheese

Classic Cheese for Mac – the Béchamel blended with cheddar cheese is perfect for vegetables too

Saw Mill / Fried Chicken Fillets

Saw Mill Gravy – the white milk gravy heavily seasoned with black pepper, sometimes with bits of browned ground country sausage

Red Eye Gravy – flour roux with country ham drippings and coffee

Tomato Gravy / Creole Daube

Creole Tomato Gravy – a seasoned roux gravy with the addition of diced tomatoes

Brown Gravy / Momma’s Meatloaf

Brown Gravy – pan drippings from cooked meat stirred into a darkened flour based roux

Brown Sugar Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes and Onion Gravy

A recipe steeped in Southern tradition

There are a few folks, a handful, that know a thing or two of how pork entered into our native land. The folks I am referring to have in possession a first peek at my latest cookbook, an online digital copy featuring recipes of our Mobile area and of our area’s history, folklore, trivia and at times, plain ol’ storytelling. And, in this recipe ‘book’ contains the story of how pork as we know it, gained foothold on our land and in our Southern area, first brought to us by the Spaniards. If you remember, these folks were the winners of a contest last year and the cookbook was a prize to weekly winners.

There are so many elements in this recipe that is Southernese. The pork as mentioned is one and from the lower Southern state’s sugarcane fields comes brown sugar while from other states along the coast and upward to the Carolinas yields the crops of sweet potatoes. Don’t forget the sweet onions of Georgia, Louisiana and Texas; the corn distilled bourbon from just about every lower state and honey that comes from many backyards. Even a whole grain mustard, a Creole brand would be good in this recipe however I chose the French Dijon (which was brought in the early years to the states from France) that I purchased in NOLA.

I know I ramble sometimes ’bout nothing, but let me say this pork roast was remarkably tasty, ever-so-moist. Topped with the onion gravy with the sweet potatoes riding proudly by its side, the flavors of this dish made me want to ‘slap my mama’. And, that story is in the ‘book’ too, which by the way, should be ready for distribution shortly. In the meantime, pick up a nice pork roast and cook up a taste of Southern history.  Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pork Roast
with Sweet Potatoes and Onion Gravy
8 to 10 servings

1 -7 to 9 pound Boston butt pork roast
1/3 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 sweet onions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 -10.5 ounce condensed beef broth
2 or 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch disks
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Since the pork roast is braised with a liquid, we do not need the fat layer on top of a Boston butt which normally keeps it from drying out. With a sharp fillet knife, remove as much of the fat as you can.

Brush the pork roast with the mustard coating all surfaces. Pat the brown sugar all over the roast and rub into the crevices of the roast, Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and lightly sear the roast on all sides. You are not browning here, just a sear. Do not burn the sugar. Remove roast to a plate, cover with foil and set aside.

Add the onions to the Dutch oven, turn up the heat and stir in the pepper, honey, cayenne, vinegar, bourbon and cook about 5 minutes. Add the roast back into the Dutch oven. Pour to the side of the roast the beef broth, cover and bring to a boil. Place in the oven and reduce heat to 325. Cook for 2 1/ hours (1 1/2 hours for a much smaller roast).

Remove from oven, turn roast over and place potatoes along the sides and on top of the roast. Cover and return to oven. Cook for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

Test pork roast with a meat thermometer. Remove from oven when the meat registers 170 degrees. Place roast and potatoes on a platter. Strain the pan drippings with onions discarding the grease. Add about 2 cups of the drippings back to the Dutch oven reserving the onions. Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir into the drippings. Heat over medium high heat to a boil and stir to thicken. Stir in the onions until heated thoroughly.

Slice the roast and serve with the gravy.

Brown Sugar Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes and Onion Gravy

A recipe steeped in Southern tradition

There are a few folks, a handful, that know a thing or two of how pork entered into our native land. The folks I am referring to have in possession a first peek at my latest cookbook, an online digital copy featuring recipes of our Mobile area and of our area’s history, folklore, trivia and at times, plain ol’ storytelling. And, in this recipe ‘book’ contains the story of how pork as we know it, gained foothold on our land and in our Southern area, first brought to us by the Spaniards. If you remember, these folks were the winners of a contest last year and the cookbook was a prize to weekly winners.

There are so many elements in this recipe that is Southernese. The pork as mentioned is one and from the lower Southern state’s sugarcane fields comes brown sugar while from other states along the coast and upward to the Carolinas yields the crops of sweet potatoes. Don’t forget the sweet onions of Georgia, Louisiana and Texas; the corn distilled bourbon from just about every lower state and honey that comes from many backyards. Even a whole grain mustard, a Creole brand would be good in this recipe however I chose the French Dijon (which was brought in the early years to the states from France) that I purchased in NOLA.

I know I ramble sometimes ’bout nothing, but let me say this pork roast was remarkably tasty, ever-so-moist. Topped with the onion gravy with the sweet potatoes riding proudly by its side, the flavors of this dish made me want to ‘slap my mama’. And, that story is in the ‘book’ too, which by the way, should be ready for distribution shortly. In the meantime, pick up a nice pork roast and cook up a taste of Southern history.  Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pork Roast
with Sweet Potatoes and Onion Gravy
8 to 10 servings

1 -7 to 9 pound Boston butt pork roast
1/3 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 sweet onions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 -10.5 ounce condensed beef broth
2 or 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch disks
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Since the pork roast is braised with a liquid, we do not need the fat layer on top of a Boston butt which normally keeps it from drying out. With a sharp fillet knife, remove as much of the fat as you can.

Brush the pork roast with the mustard coating all surfaces. Pat the brown sugar all over the roast and rub into the crevices of the roast, Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and lightly sear the roast on all sides. You are not browning here, just a sear. Do not burn the sugar. Remove roast to a plate, cover with foil and set aside.

Add the onions to the Dutch oven, turn up the heat and stir in the pepper, honey, cayenne, vinegar, bourbon and cook about 5 minutes. Add the roast back into the Dutch oven. Pour to the side of the roast the beef broth, cover and bring to a boil. Place in the oven and reduce heat to 325. Cook for 2 1/ hours (1 1/2 hours for a much smaller roast).

Remove from oven, turn roast over and place potatoes along the sides and on top of the roast. Cover and return to oven. Cook for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

Test pork roast with a meat thermometer. Remove from oven when the meat registers 170 degrees. Place roast and potatoes on a platter. Strain the pan drippings with onions discarding the grease. Add about 2 cups of the drippings back to the Dutch oven reserving the onions. Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir into the drippings. Heat over medium high heat to a boil and stir to thicken. Stir in the onions until heated thoroughly.

Slice the roast and serve with the gravy.

Sweet and Zingy Buffalo Wings

My best take on

Buffalo Wings

After several attempts of dabbling with ingredients, many wings later and many tips discarded, I finally tweaked my recipe to my liking. Hopefully, you will like them too.

Now I am a true believer in using a brine with wings mainly to get them all pump up with extra moisture, which of course helps ’em from drying out. It also adds another layer of flavor to the sweet meat. It doesn’t take but an extra few minutes of prep time and about 30 minutes in the fridge is a good rule of thumb, although I do it longer. A reader once wrote on another recipe that he had never used a brine on wings but after doing it once, will never cook them again without it. It really does matter – so I think too.

Although you might think hot because of the name, these wings are to me fairly mild – with just enough heat to carry the name and with just enough slightly sweet flavor to make you want more. Enjoy!

Drick’s Buffalo Wings
8-12 appetizer servings

24 wings, separated, tips removed
brine solution or salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Go ahead, do it – place the chicken wings in a sealable bag and add a brine soulution. This time I used I used 2 cups water, 1/3 cup Kosher salt, 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon crushed oregano. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or no longer than a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the oil, butter and remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Allow mixture to come to a simmer over low heat. Stir to incorporate and let simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Drain wings and pat dry with paper towers. Arrange on baking pans (sprayed with cooking oil) separated so each are not touching skin side up. Place in oven, reduce heat to 375 and cook for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook 10 minutes.

Remove wings to a casserole or deep pan. Pour sauce over wings, toss to coat and return to oven. Cook about 15 minutes tossing occasionally or until most of the sauce has cook onto the wings.

Note: I know these would be exceptional cooked outside on a grill, however, the weather did not co-operate this time. I plan to do it soon by cooking the wings off heat, medium high until cooked followed with several bathings into the buffalo sauce.

Sweet and Zingy Buffalo Wings

My best take on

Buffalo Wings

After several attempts of dabbling with ingredients, many wings later and many tips discarded, I finally tweaked my recipe to my liking. Hopefully, you will like them too.

Now I am a true believer in using a brine with wings mainly to get them all pump up with extra moisture, which of course helps ’em from drying out. It also adds another layer of flavor to the sweet meat. It doesn’t take but an extra few minutes of prep time and about 30 minutes in the fridge is a good rule of thumb, although I do it longer. A reader once wrote on another recipe that he had never used a brine on wings but after doing it once, will never cook them again without it. It really does matter – so I think too.

Although you might think hot because of the name, these wings are to me fairly mild – with just enough heat to carry the name and with just enough slightly sweet flavor to make you want more. Enjoy!

Drick’s Buffalo Wings
8-12 appetizer servings

24 wings, separated, tips removed
brine solution or salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Go ahead, do it – place the chicken wings in a sealable bag and add a brine soulution. This time I used I used 2 cups water, 1/3 cup Kosher salt, 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon crushed oregano. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or no longer than a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the oil, butter and remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Allow mixture to come to a simmer over low heat. Stir to incorporate and let simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Drain wings and pat dry with paper towers. Arrange on baking pans (sprayed with cooking oil) separated so each are not touching skin side up. Place in oven, reduce heat to 375 and cook for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook 10 minutes.

Remove wings to a casserole or deep pan. Pour sauce over wings, toss to coat and return to oven. Cook about 15 minutes tossing occasionally or until most of the sauce has cook onto the wings.

Note: I know these would be exceptional cooked outside on a grill, however, the weather did not co-operate this time. I plan to do it soon by cooking the wings off heat, medium high until cooked followed with several bathings into the buffalo sauce.

Panéed Flounder with Shrimp, Crabclaws and Vegetables

Jubilee feast!

Mobile Bay is fed from rivers, creeks and estuaries of our delta which is the second largest in the United States; our boarding neighbor Mississippi boasts the largest. From this bay, multitudes of fresh water fish as well as salt water seafood and shellfish are harvested daily. The recipe today is a prime example of bounty that comes from our beloved bay.

Now, a few terms used in today’s recipe:

Panéed cooking is a southern term meaning to quickly pan fry breaded meats in hot oil or butter. The favorite meats being thin pieces of veal or chicken which are dusted in flour, breadcrumbs or a mixture of both. The meat is then removed and most often served with an accompanying sauce. That lies the difference in a meunière style of cooking.

Meunière is a French technique in which meats are breaded in flour and sautéed in normally a clarified butter. The name Meunière is also used for the sauce version similar to a brown butter sauce and most always includes lemon and capers. The meats are returned to the pan and coated in the sauce to meld together.

Both Panéed and Meunière styles of cooking meats will create a softer crust or skin than deep-frying. Both are heavily used in the Creole kitchen.

Southern style Bordelaise is basically a warm beurre blanc butter sauce made heavily with a white wine reduction and with garlic, green onions, shallots and parsley. Like the Creole Monter au Beurre, cold butter is whisked into my version at the end creating a very loose yet velvety texture riding with the rich flavor of the wine sauce. Good for mopping up with crusty French bread.

This recipe is actually two dishes but is served together on the same plate along side a bed of rice and a vegetable of choice.

Enjoy!

Panéed Flounder with Garlic Seafood Medley
in a delightful Bordelaise style sauce
4 servings

First, lets get three key steps out of the way: having the clarified butter ready and making the reduction for the garlic-wine sauce along with prepping the vegetables will speed the recipe along.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

To make the clarified butter – Heat a skillet over low heat and melt butter. Cook until all bubbling action stops and skim the foam from the top. Pour away the clear butter at the top from the solid part left at the bottom of the pan which will be just a little bit. The clear butter is the clarified butter needed for this dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic toes, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 cup sherry or white port wine
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock

For the reduction sauce, in a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic, reduce heat to medium and stir until onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the two wines and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid reduces to about 2 tablespoons, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and boil until liquid reduces to about 2/3 cup, about 30 minutes. Pour sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl pressing on the solids to release all viable liquid. Set aside sauce and discard solids.

White the butter is melting, prep the vegetables for the reduction sauce. To save time, prep the vegetables for sauteing and for the bordelaise while reducing the sauce.

4 flounder fillets, about 1/4 pound each (use grouper, snapper, tilapia or any white fish)
1/2 cup of clarified butter
salt, black pepper to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet on moderate heat to about 300 degrees. While the butter is heating, season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the flour and shake off any excess. When butter is hot, add 2 of the fillets in the pan making sure there is good flesh to surface contact. Do not overcrowd the fish. Cook until nice and brown, no more than about 8 minutes total. Test the fish for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the thickest part about halfway into the flesh. Tilt the knife to one side to check the meat which should be flaky white yet moist if done. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Continue cooking remaining fillets. Place fillets uncovered in a warming drawer or a low oven to store until serving time.

Note: Soak the fish in milk for about an hour if desired. Soaking fish fillets in milk will certainly sweeten the flavor, but most of the time we do it to help form a good crust on the surface.

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup small artichokes, halved

Add the oil to the skillet and when hot add the mushrooms. Saute until brown on both sides and liquid is reduced from the pan. Add bell pepper and cook until about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, dry the shrimp completely and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the skillet making sure shrimp comes in contact with the surface of the skillet, move the mushrooms and peppers around as needed. Increase the heat if needed to quickly cook the shrimp. Saute about 1 minute on each side or until bright pink. The flesh should be opaque throughout. Remove to a large bowl and keep warm in the same area with the fish.

remaining clarified butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot
6 garlic toes, minced
1 pound crabclaws (some folks call these fingers)
2 teaspoon unsalted Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
reduction sauce from above
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into equal parts

Wipe out the skillet. Add remaining clarified butter and return over medium high heat. Add the shallots, minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crab claws and sprinkle with the Creole seasoning. Toss and shake the claws around in the pan to cook evenly for about 2 minutes. Add the reduction sauce and lemon juice. Bring to a simmering boil reducing heat to low just as it starts to boil. Toss claws to meld ingredients together. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is slightly velvety in appearance. Remove from heat and with a skimmer, strain claws into the bowl with the shrimp and vegetables. Whisk the cold butter into the pan 1 tablespoon at a time until thickens a bit.

To serve: Plate the fish fillet on one side followed with spooning the shrimp, crabclaws and vegetable medley on the other. Sprinkle the green onions on top of the shrimp and claws. Top with the Bordelaise sauce. Serve with hot, crusty French bread to mop up the glorious sauce.

Pairs well with any rice dish and a steamed vegetable like asparagus. Broccoli would be great too.

Panéed Flounder with Shrimp, Crabclaws and Vegetables

Jubilee feast!

Mobile Bay is fed from rivers, creeks and estuaries of our delta which is the second largest in the United States; our boarding neighbor Mississippi boasts the largest. From this bay, multitudes of fresh water fish as well as salt water seafood and shellfish are harvested daily. The recipe today is a prime example of bounty that comes from our beloved bay.

Now, a few terms used in today’s recipe:

Panéed cooking is a southern term meaning to quickly pan fry breaded meats in hot oil or butter. The favorite meats being thin pieces of veal or chicken which are dusted in flour, breadcrumbs or a mixture of both. The meat is then removed and most often served with an accompanying sauce. That lies the difference in a meunière style of cooking.

Meunière is a French technique in which meats are breaded in flour and sautéed in normally a clarified butter. The name Meunière is also used for the sauce version similar to a brown butter sauce and most always includes lemon and capers. The meats are returned to the pan and coated in the sauce to meld together.

Both Panéed and Meunière styles of cooking meats will create a softer crust or skin than deep-frying. Both are heavily used in the Creole kitchen.

Southern style Bordelaise is basically a warm beurre blanc butter sauce made heavily with a white wine reduction and with garlic, green onions, shallots and parsley. Like the Creole Monter au Beurre, cold butter is whisked into my version at the end creating a very loose yet velvety texture riding with the rich flavor of the wine sauce. Good for mopping up with crusty French bread.

This recipe is actually two dishes but is served together on the same plate along side a bed of rice and a vegetable of choice.

Enjoy!

Panéed Flounder with Garlic Seafood Medley
in a delightful Bordelaise style sauce
4 servings

First, lets get three key steps out of the way: having the clarified butter ready and making the reduction for the garlic-wine sauce along with prepping the vegetables will speed the recipe along.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

To make the clarified butter – Heat a skillet over low heat and melt butter. Cook until all bubbling action stops and skim the foam from the top. Pour away the clear butter at the top from the solid part left at the bottom of the pan which will be just a little bit. The clear butter is the clarified butter needed for this dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic toes, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
1 cup sherry or white port wine
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock

For the reduction sauce, in a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic, reduce heat to medium and stir until onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the two wines and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid reduces to about 2 tablespoons, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and boil until liquid reduces to about 2/3 cup, about 30 minutes. Pour sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl pressing on the solids to release all viable liquid. Set aside sauce and discard solids.

White the butter is melting, prep the vegetables for the reduction sauce. To save time, prep the vegetables for sauteing and for the bordelaise while reducing the sauce.

4 flounder fillets, about 1/4 pound each (use grouper, snapper, tilapia or any white fish)
1/2 cup of clarified butter
salt, black pepper to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet on moderate heat to about 300 degrees. While the butter is heating, season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the flour and shake off any excess. When butter is hot, add 2 of the fillets in the pan making sure there is good flesh to surface contact. Do not overcrowd the fish. Cook until nice and brown, no more than about 8 minutes total. Test the fish for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the thickest part about halfway into the flesh. Tilt the knife to one side to check the meat which should be flaky white yet moist if done. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Continue cooking remaining fillets. Place fillets uncovered in a warming drawer or a low oven to store until serving time.

Note: Soak the fish in milk for about an hour if desired. Soaking fish fillets in milk will certainly sweeten the flavor, but most of the time we do it to help form a good crust on the surface.

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 pound extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup small artichokes, halved

Add the oil to the skillet and when hot add the mushrooms. Saute until brown on both sides and liquid is reduced from the pan. Add bell pepper and cook until about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, dry the shrimp completely and lightly season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the skillet making sure shrimp comes in contact with the surface of the skillet, move the mushrooms and peppers around as needed. Increase the heat if needed to quickly cook the shrimp. Saute about 1 minute on each side or until bright pink. The flesh should be opaque throughout. Remove to a large bowl and keep warm in the same area with the fish.

remaining clarified butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot
6 garlic toes, minced
1 pound crabclaws (some folks call these fingers)
2 teaspoon unsalted Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
reduction sauce from above
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into equal parts

Wipe out the skillet. Add remaining clarified butter and return over medium high heat. Add the shallots, minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crab claws and sprinkle with the Creole seasoning. Toss and shake the claws around in the pan to cook evenly for about 2 minutes. Add the reduction sauce and lemon juice. Bring to a simmering boil reducing heat to low just as it starts to boil. Toss claws to meld ingredients together. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is slightly velvety in appearance. Remove from heat and with a skimmer, strain claws into the bowl with the shrimp and vegetables. Whisk the cold butter into the pan 1 tablespoon at a time until thickens a bit.

To serve: Plate the fish fillet on one side followed with spooning the shrimp, crabclaws and vegetable medley on the other. Sprinkle the green onions on top of the shrimp and claws. Top with the Bordelaise sauce. Serve with hot, crusty French bread to mop up the glorious sauce.

Pairs well with any rice dish and a steamed vegetable like asparagus. Broccoli would be great too.

Ravigote Sauce with Crab Cakes

A sauce to yelp about . . .

A finishing sauce can make or break the best prepared meal. Poorly seasoned or improperly executed, a sauce will destroy your best intention in a flash not to mention ruin your budgeted dollars and reputation. There are so many types of sauces. The one today is influenced from our French forefathers who knew a thing or two about a good sauce. There are basically two Ravigote sauces; a velouté type riding in white wine and vinegar, butter, cream, with mushrooms cooked in the liquor, usually served hot and the other is the one I am featuring today.

This ravigote is a classic sauce that is great to use when there is no liquid or stock from the cooked meats and normally is reserved for fish, shellfish and white meat.  Served slightly warm or cold, this lightly acidic and highly flavored sauce blends herbs and finely minced vegetables into a creamy dressing.

These photos are from Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans where this boasting Ravigote sauce played right alongside to their amazing jumbo lump crab cakes. The crab cake recipe will follow later in the week, but first ya gotta make the sauce. One bite into the crab cake, with a hint of this sauce and you will know what I mean about a sauce worth letting out a little yelp.

Ravigote (ra-vee-gawt) Fr. 1820’s derivative of ravigoter, to refresh, vigor, vigorous

Mr. B’s Bistro (NOLO) on Royal near Canal, fine dining famous for Creole cuisine and known for fresh, local and regional fare, be sure to order their famous barbecued shrimp – clubby, relaxed and casual – the wait staff and chefs are very eager to address the cuisine and at times, will hand out a recipe or two…

Ravigote Sauce
Serve with all sorts of seafood – shrimp and crab, crawfish, fried oysters, crab cakes and white meats too.
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine
1/2 large Anaheim chile pepper or green bell pepper, diced fine
1 hard-boiled egg, pulverized
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 3/4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)
kosher salt and white pepper to taste
1 teaspoon tiny capers

In a medium bowl whisk together lemon juice and dry mustard. Whisk in mayonnaise, bell pepper, chile, egg, parsley, horseradish, mustard, tarragon, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Lastly, fold in the capers.

NOTE: The first time I made this sauce, I cheated and used a small blender to chop the vegetables. DO NOT do this as it will pulverize the peppers too much.  Finely dice the vegetables by hand and as told, the eggs are actually pounded with a mallet.

The most amazing foods come from the kitchen of Mr. B’s Bistro, NOLA

Chipotle Wing Sauce for Wings and Onion-Mustard Jam for Polish Sausage Sammies

Football Friday

Another great start to a weekend and I hope all are doing fine especially my friends along the Gulf Coast from nasty Issac (one that decided to make a loop and come back through on Thursday morn). Wishing everyone a blessed Friday and best of luck to your favorite college (and pro) football team.

Today’s recipe is really simple. It’s a Chipotle sauce to go with fajita seasoned chicken wings. Actually, you’ll see two types of wings. The Tex-Mex fajita one and the other one is the favorite ol’ standby soaked in Frank’s hot buffalo sauce. And to go with the wings, I also have an Onion-Pepper-Mustard jam for polish sausage sammies. That and homemade fries (onion rings too) are about all I think are needed for a football fare afternoon.

Here’s a quick run-down . . . Enjoy!

First, start with marinating your wings in a brine that will set up a correct surface to mass ratio which will keep the wings from drying out and pump in moisture while also adding a bit of flavor. To achieve this, a marinade must contain three essential ingredients.
Acid, salt and water. Everything else is for flavoring. I keep it simple
since the wings roast in seasoning and later combine with a sauce. This step is the same for drumsticks as well as whole chickens. The amount of ingredients varies with the amount of chicken being marinating. Also, the bigger the pieces, the longer the marinating time.

For these wings (about 30 sections), I used 2 cups water, 1/3 cup Kosher salt, 1/2 cup cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir all together until the granules dissolve and pour over the wings. I use a sealable bag positioned in a bowl. Refrigerate for an hour or two.

While the wings are marinating, make your Chipotle wing sauce. You can use canned chipotles in adobo sauce if you cannot find a good bottled chipotle hot sauce. This is one we got in a Mexican market (in Tennessee of all places) while visiting my sister and family.

In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream and about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of a good chipotle hot sauce, depending on how hot. Whisk together and refrigerate until needed.

Next, remove from the marinade draining well and place on a pan sprayed with cooking oil. Actually, I would prefer to use a rack to keep the wings lifted from the juices, making them roast better, but I forgot.

Season as desired. I lightly salted 1/2 of of the wings and the other half I sprinkled with fajita seasoning, Badia brand I believe.

Place in a preheated 425 degree F. oven and cook until the wings become nice and brown turning over half-way. I cooked mine for about 25 minutes on each side but if using a rack, the time should be less.

Remove from the oven and place the fajita seasoned wings on a platter. Place the plain wings in a bowl and douse with your favorite wing sauce like Franks Hot Buffalo wing sauce. I don’t think you can beat the original flavor.

Now, while these were cooking, I used the tips from the wings and boiled them down with a couple cups of water, a little seasoning salt to make a quick chicken broth. Or you can use any chicken broth. Strain out the wing tips and reduce the broth down to about 1/4-cup.  Dice about half an onion along with half a green bell pepper and add to the broth. Simmer until the liquid is cooked out. The veggies should be nice and mushy, if not, add more water and continue cooking down. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of a good grain mustard. I used this brand I got from Central Grocery in NOLA a few weeks ago.

Now, for the sammies, take a good quality polish sausage and cut into good 1-inch length pieces. Cut each of these pieces in half almost to the edge of the outer casing. Pan fry, grill or roast in the oven until nice and brown.

Spread the onion-mustard jam between rolls and add the sausage for a fine tasting treat.

Serve the chipotle wing sauce with the fajita seasoned wings for an unbelievable good time taste.

And, as stated, buffalo hot wings are an all time favorite…