Late Summer Seafood Recipes

Papa’s Bouillabaisse

Photographed by Eugenia Uh

One of my end-of-summer rituals is to take stock of what’s in my freezer. There are several quarts of smothered okra to use for seafood or chicken and sausage gumbo to enjoy during the blustery cold weather. Lined up neatly next to the okra are four quarts of maque choux (smothered corn) that I love to pair with roasted chicken for Sunday night dinners. The next shelf is loaded with containers of shrimp and a pack of bell peppers stuffed with eggplant and Italian sausage dressing. Behind a large container of chicken stock, I found a pack of speckled trout from a midsummer fishing trip to Grand Isle – an inspiration for a dinner party before football season goes full throttle! I went to find my husband to discuss a menu.

I found him putting away our beach paraphernalia in our storage building.
“What do you think about an end-of-summer dinner party?” I asked.
“Great idea. What’s your menu?” he inquired.

I told him about the pack of fish in the freezer and asked if he had any suggestions. Without looking up from his task, he replied, “How about mini crab cakes, bouillabaisse and avocado ice cream?” He’s always quick on his feet.

My mother’s crab cake (she called them crab chops) is a family favorite – lump crabmeat bound together with cracker crumbs and bechamel sauce. The bouillabaisse recipe is Papa’s – he was a great “camp” cook and often prepared this dish at our place on Vermilion Bay. The avocado ice cream comes from the days I worked at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. It was usually served on St. Patrick’s Day because of the creamy green color, but I find it particularly refreshing after a seafood meal.

My contribution is another appetizer – shrimp croquettes dabbed with remoulade sauce. Here we go!
 


SHRIMP CROQUETTES

1 pound small or medium shrimp, boiled (reserve about 1/2 cup of the boiling liquid) and drained
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely chopped onions
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon paprika
1 cup milk
½ cup of the shrimp broth
2 egg yolks
2 cups fine dried bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 egg
3 tablespoons water
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

• Peel and devein the shrimp. Chop finely and set aside.
• Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until wilted.
• Add 3 tablespoons of the flour and the paprika and stir to blend.
• Add the milk and the shrimp broth, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture is thick and smooth.
• Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
• Add the shrimp and egg yolks. Stirring constantly, cook for about 30 seconds.
• Add half of the bread crumbs, salt, white pepper and cayenne. Blend well.
• Remove from the heat and cool thoroughly. (The mixture can be chilled in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.) 
• Divide the mixture into 16 equal portions. Shape each portion into a small ball.
• Roll the balls in the remaining 1/4 cup flour.  
• Beat the egg with the water.
• Roll the croquettes in the egg mixture and then in the remaining bread crumbs.
• Press to help the crumbs adhere. Shake off any excess.
• Heat the oil to 360 degrees in a deep pot or fryer.
• Fry the croquettes, 3 or 4 at a time, for about 4 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
• Drain on paper towels.
• Serve with remoulade.

 MAKES 16 CROQUETTES


REMOULADE SAUCE

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Creole mustard
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


• Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to blend.
• Season with salt and pepper.
• Chill before using.
 


MINI CRAB CHOPS

3 tablespoons butter
3 green onions, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pound crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
20 saltine crackers, finely crumbled
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 dashes hot sauce
Cracker meal or bread crumbs for dredging
Butter and vegetable oil for frying


• Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
• Add the green onions and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
• Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
• Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
• Remove from the heat and add the crabmeat, cracker crumbs, egg, salt and cayenne.
• Gently mix together and set aside to cool completely. (The mixture can be chilled in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.)
• Shape the mixture into 12 patties.
• Dredge the patties in the cracker meal or bread crumbs, coating evenly.
• Put about ½-inch of equal parts vegetable oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.
• Fry the patties until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
• Drain on paper towels.  

 MAKES 12 PATTIES


CREOLE TARTAR SAUCE

1 egg
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
1 teaspoon salt


• Combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice, parsley and green onions in a food processor.
• Process for 15 seconds.
• With the processor running, gradually add the oil through the feed tube.
• Add the cayenne, Creole mustard and salt, and pulse to blend.
• Cover and chill in the refrigerator before using.
 


PAPA'S BOUILLABAISSE

2 ½ pounds firm white fish fillets (such as speckled trout or redfish)
Salt and cayenne, to taste
1 stick butter
3 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 cups coarsely chopped green bell peppers
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chopped canned tomatoes with their liquid
6 bay leaves
1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped freshly parsley leaves


• Cut the fish into two-inch chunks.
• Season the fish generously with salt and cayenne.
• Melt the butter in a large, deep, heavy pot over medium heat.
• Combine the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic in a bowl.
• Season with salt and cayenne, and toss to mix.
• Place 1/3 of the vegetables on top of the butter and spread evenly on the bottom of the pot.
• Place 1/3 of the tomatoes and 2 bay leaves on top of the vegetables.
• Place 1/3 of the fish on top of the tomatoes.
• Repeat the process until all is used.
• Add the shrimp on top of the final layer.
• Add the wine down the sides of the pot.
• Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
• Simmer for 1 hour without removing the lid.  
• Serve in deep soup bowls and garnish with the parsley.
• In the old days, rouille, a garlic-flavored mayonnaise was drizzled on top of the soup.
• Accompany with hot French bread.

 MAKES 6–8 SERVINGS


AVOCADO CREAM PARFAIT

1 large very ripe Haas avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups French vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
Whipped cream for garnish
Fresh lime zest for garnish


• Put the avocado and lime juice in a food processor blender, and puree until smooth.
• Add the sugar, cream and vanilla, and blend again.
• Remove from the container and stir into the ice cream.
• Spoon about 3/4 cup of the mixture into each of 6 parfait classes.
• Cover and put in the freezer until the mixture firms up, about 4 hours.  
• Before serving, garnish the tops of the parfait with a little whipped cream and lime zest.

 MAKES 6–8 SERVINGS


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