15 April 2015

Chef Recipe: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Crawfish, Pepper Jack and Shrimp-Tomato Bisque Soup: April Is National Grilled Cheese Month

Photo provided by Loews Hotels --  April is grilled cheese month, the perfect time to make Cafe Adelaide's take on Louisiana Crawfish-Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese With Smoked Tomato-Shrimp Bisque and Pickled Charred Chile Salad.
Source: Loews Hotel

From Denny:  Now this is an exotic version of the humble comfort food:  the American grilled cheese sandwich.  

You have no idea how hard it was when visiting Austria a few years ago when I attempted to explain how to make a simple grilled cheese sandwich to a local chef.  It was a seriously foreign concept to them.  They didn't have a clue.  Lots of delicious local cheeses yet no Austrian version of a grilled cheese sandwich!  Imagine that.

This Louisiana version comes from executive chef Carl Schaubhut of Café Adelaide in New Orleans.  Of course, as seafood, this rich sandwich is considered Lenten season friendly.  Serve by pairing it with the shrimp-tomato bisque soup. Here in Louisiana we always look for an excuse to enjoy our bountiful seafood so why not go meat free on Fridays even when it isn't Lent?  (You know, that special time that arrives after Mardi Gras and before Easter.)  Our restaurants enjoy creating Lenten season menus, always topping themselves from the year previous!

Whenever I run across a chef recipe, especially from a hotel, I like to put up some information and links to the hotel site in case any of you might enjoy dining or stay with the hotel when you travel.  After this long hard winter we are all ready for some vacation time!

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Louisiana Crawfish-Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese With Smoked Shrimp-Tomato Bisque

From:  Executive Chef Carl Schaubhut, Café Adelaide, located inside Loews New Orleans Hotel.
300 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA, 70130

Phone:  504-595-3300
Reservations: 1-866-211-6411

Hotel room rates are from about $369/night/room on up for large suites.
6:30–10:30 AM (Monday–Friday)
Lunch: 11:30 AM–2 PM (Monday–Thursday); 11:30 AM–2:30 PM (Friday)
Dinner: 5:30–9 PM (Sunday–Thursday); 5:30–10 PM (Friday & Saturday)
Brunch with HAT-ITUDE: 7 AM–1:30 PM (Saturday & Sunday)
Browse Café Adelaide's Menus
Find out more about Café Adelaide's Events
Visit Café Adelaide's website

Serves:  4

For the sandwiches:

1 pound. Louisiana crawfish tails
4 ozs. mayonnaise or aïoli
4 ozs. Parmesan cheese, grated
4 ozs. pepper jack cheese, grated
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons. Crystal hot sauce (or other mild hot sauce like Louisiana hot sauce = less vinegar)
1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning of choice
1 oz. chopped herbs (thyme, parsley, green onions)
8 slices thick, hearty, tasty bread such brioche, wheat berry or focaccia


1. Mix together ingredients except bread and chill thoroughly.

2. Divide onto 4 sandwiches. Spread outside of sandwich with butter and sauté in skillet until brown on both sides. Finish in 350 F oven for 5 minutes until hot through. Serve with soup and salad.

For the Shrimp-Tomato Bisque soup:

2 ozs. canola oil
1 onion yellow, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. shrimp shells
5 smoked Creole-style tomatoes, skins removed
1 (32-oz.) can imported tomatoes, peeled, whole
5 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 ozs. brandy
1/2 lb. rice, cooked
2 ozs. Worcestershire
2 oz. Crystal hot sauce
2 oz. sugarcane vinegar
1 cup cream
2 Tablespoons sugar


1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat canola oil and add onions, garlic, celery, and diced pepper. Sauté with salt and pepper for 5 minutes, encourage browning of vegetables.

2. Add shrimp shells and brown 5 more minutes. Deglaze with crushed smoked and canned tomatoes. Scrape bottom of pot to release brown bits.

3. Add thyme and bay leaf sachet tied with butcher’s twine. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer 20 minutes. Add brandy, rice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, sugar and vinegar. Remove from heat. Remove sachet.

4. Purée in a very powerful blender in batches. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Add cream; taste and season again. Reserve hot.

5. Serve alongside sandwich and a salad of pickled chilies and arugula dressed with basil oil and cane vinegar.

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