24 November 2009

Creole Seafood Mixed Grill from New Orleans Famed Commanders Palace

Photo by pink_fish13 @ flickr

From Denny: The restaurant owners, the Brennans, are practically a New Orleans institution themselves! They are well loved by the public as much as by those who have worked for them.

The Brennans trained Emeril Lagasse when he was just starting out. Emeril didn't know much, nothing about Cajun cuisine, and his previous employer was so jealous he landed somewhere good that he gave him an ugly "recommendation."

What did he say? He sneered that Emeril was good with the customers and chatted them up too much. Uh... folks, in New Orleans, and Louisiana in particular, that's exactly what a restaurant owner wants: a friendly chef! :)

Like the Brennans said, "Oh, I'm so glad to hear he has good people skills. The rest is easy; we can teach him how to cook Cajun and Creole. Thank you very much!" The rest is history. When Emeril went off to start his own restaurants the Brennans could not have been prouder of him than if he was their own son.

In Louisiana, we frequently do seafood at holiday seasons, like seafood gumbo on Thanksgiving along with the turkey and Christmas Eve along with a turkey or ham!

Creole Seafood Mixed Grill

From: Chef Tory McPhail at Commanders Palace, New Orleans, Louisiana

*** Great American Seafood Cookoff Winning Recipe, featured in Country Roads Magazine (without photos)


1 lb. Sheepshead fillets, boneless and skinless
1 lb. 10–15 count head on shrimp, peeled and deveined with heads and tails left intact
½ lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
4 oz. champagne or white wine
1 tbsp hickory sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp bacon fat, warmed
1 shallot, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds discarded and minced
1 oz celery, minced
2 cups corn—use a variety if available
1 cup milk
1 cup tomato concasse, small dice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, picked and chopped
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 oz basil oil
½ cup mixed herbs, or herb sprouts for garnish (optional)


Prepare a grill to medium heat and place a medium sauté pan on the stove over medium flame. Season the seafood on all sides and reserve. Next place vegetable oil and bacon fat in the sauté pan and swirl. Add shallots, jalapeño and celery and sauté for 1 minute. Add the corn and continue to sauté for 30 seconds. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Next place ¼ of the corn into a blender and purée for 20 seconds. Add the puréed corn back to the pan and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes or until corn is cooked through, and at sauce consistency. Finish with fresh tomatoes, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and reserve.

To cook the seafood, place the crabmeat and champagne in a small saucepot and place on the hottest part of the grill. Heat the crabmeat for 3-5 minutes before placing the sheepshead and shrimp on the grill around the pot. Cook the fish and shrimp for approximately 3 minutes per side, until cooked. Make sure the crabmeat comes to a simmer also and swirl to make sure it’s hot all the way through.

To finish, spoon the corn into the middle of 4 hot entrée plates. Place the sheepshead down next and add 2-3 shrimp to the top of that. Spoon the warm crabmeat over the shrimp and into the corn sauce. Drizzle remaining corn sauce around the plate and garnish with basil oil and fresh herbs.

*** Thanks for visiting and have a great Thanksgiving! :)
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