Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Crunchy Fried Smelt

A few weeks ago, Publix had smelt on sale for $4.99/lb. I will be honest with you. I had never heard of smelt. But, as always, loyal blog readers, I was ready to take one for the team. 

And here's a quick lesson on smelts from Wikipedia:

Smelts are a family of small fish, the Osmeridae, found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They are also known as freshwater smelts or typical smelts to distinguish them from the related ArgentinidaeBathylagidae, and Retropinnidae.
Some smelt species are common in the North American Great Lakes, and in the lakes and seas of the northern part of Europe, where they run in large schools along the saltwater coastline during spring migration to their spawning streams. In some western parts of the United States, smelt populations have greatly declined in recent decades, leading to their protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Delta smeltHypomesus transpacificus, found in the Sacramento Delta of California, and the Columbia River smelt, Eulachon, are both protected from harvest.
Some species of smelts are among the few fish that sportsmen have been allowed to net, using hand-held dip nets, either along the coastline or in streams. Some sportsmen also ice fish for smelt. They are often fried and eaten whole.

Here are the little beauties before cooking. They're only a few inches long and are fried and eaten whole. You could coat them with cornmeal, seasoned flour, or a boxed fry mix which is what I did with Zatarain's fish fry. They fry in minutes so have everything ready before you start frying.

1 lb. fresh smelt
1 cup Zatarain's fish fry
2 cups vegetable oil

Place smelt in a colander and rinse with cool water. Strain and pat dry with paper towels.

Pour Zatarain's fish fry in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Add half the smelt into the bag and seal to close. Shake the bag to completely coat the smelt.

In a large, cast iron skillet, heat oil over high heat until oil shimmers. Carefully add the prepared smelts into the oil a few at a time. 

Reduce heat to medium-high and when the fish are browned, remove from oil with a slotted metal spatula. Place them in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate. Continue with the remaining smelt until all are cooked.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges, tartar sauce, and/or ketchup!

Chicken and Broccoli

Adding vegetables and lean proteins to your meal plans is always a goal for a healthy diet.  I'm trying to limit carbs at the present time, so no rice with this meal.  Feel free to enjoy this recipe over either white, brown, or fried rice.

1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. sugar
1 T. plus 1 t. cornstarch
1 1/4 t. salt
1 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. Sesame Oil
1/3 cup water
3 T. olive oil
5 - 6 cups broccoli florets, separated into bite-sized pieces
1 t. dried red pepper flakes
1 T. hoisin sauce
2 cups shredded cabbage/slaw mix
Sesame seeds for garnishing

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
Half the garlic
Half the ginger
Soy Sauce
1 t. cornstarch
1 t. salt
Sherry Vinegar
Sesame Oil

Add chicken and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes or so.

Mix the remaining cornstarch with 1/3 cup water.

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 T. of the olive oil. Add broccoli, remaining garlic, ginger, 2 T. water, 1/4 t. salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green, but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Heat the wok until it is very hot and add chicken and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry until the chicken begins to brown, about 3 minutes. 

Add the hoisin sauce, return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. 

Stir in the reserved cornstarch/water mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if necessary.

Add the shredded cabbage and cook for another minute or two. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Garnish with sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil if desired.  Serve over rice if you're not cutting carbs!

Adapted from Food Network.

Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos

I've been on the street taco kick lately. I had always preferred the soft white flour tortillas, but I'm becoming quite fond of the smaller corn tortillas. It's an entirely different meal when your taco includes fish instead of chicken or beef and you can choose alternative toppings for a change.

For this recipe I used cod. Publix recently had shrink wrapped frozen cod fillets on sale. I had planned on broiling the fish and serving alongside fresh veggies, but when the fish taco idea came into play, I chose a different flavor profile altogether.

I love both cilantro and lime.  The infused olive oils impart such a great flavor to the fish. 

Makes 6 - 8 small street tacos

1 1/2 - 2 lb. cod fillet
1 t. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Place cod on baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oils and then sprinkle on the seasoning blend and salt.

Bake for 16 - 18 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Now to assemble our tacos:

On a separate baking sheet place 6 - 8 corn tortillas in a single layer. During last minute or so of baking time for the fish, place tortillas in oven. Have all your toppings ready so you can quickly fill and eat!

6 - 8 small corn tortillas
2 - 2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage blend
1 - 2 diced jalapenos
3 - 4 radishes, cut into small matchsticks
2 green onions, thinly sliced
chopped cilantro
Sour cream
lime wedges

Divide cabbage evenly among the tortillas. Place pieces of the cod on top of the cabbage. Top with the various toppings and serve with lime wedges alongside.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Parmesan Chive Compound Butter

Last Friday night was the first grill of the 2018 Season! I found some gorgeous ribeye steaks at the grocery and added a couple of ears of corn and chopped potatoes seasoned with Cilantro and Lime seasoning blend.

Normally, I would have chosen a special olive oil and vinegar for a marinade, but for these steaks, I went simple and basic.  Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.  That's all!

And even better, I used charcoal instead of the gas grill. There was so much flavor in the steak and vegetables.

Remove steaks from refrigerator up to an hour before grilling. When grill is preheated (or charcoal is ready), liberally salt and pepper both sides of steak(s). Place steaks on the grill and cook to your preference of doneness.

But I couldn't be TOO simple and basic.  I made a compound butter to top the steaks and corn. Delicious!

1 stick softened salted butter
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 t. thinly sliced fresh chives 
a few grinds of black pepper

Place butter in a small bowl. Add Parmesan and chives. I used the kitchen scissors to make quick work of the chives. Snip, snip, snip and you're done! Grind in a little black pepper. Stir to completely incorporate the ingredients into the butter. 

Spread a small piece of plastic wrap out on the counter. Spoon the softened butter mixture onto the plastic wrap and reshape into the shape of a stick of butter. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

When steaks come off the grill, place a slice of butter onto the sizzling steak and serve immediately.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Mirlitons

This is another Emeril Lagasse recipe. If you're unfamiliar with mirlitons, they're also by the other names of pear squash, vegetable pear or chayote. They are a member of the gourd family along with melons, cucumbers, and squash. They're very mild tasting and are a great vessel for stuffing with your favorite stuffing mixture. I chose shrimp and crab for mine. 

6 mirlitons
Mild olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
1 bay leaf
1 t. chopped fresh thyme
Emeril’s Seasoning Blend
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup shrimp stock
1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
Fine dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F.
For six people as a main dish, allow at least one whole mirliton per person, or half a mirliton per person if you are using it as a side dish.

Choose plump firm mirliton. In a heavy pot, bring about 2 inches of salted water to a boil. Add the mirliton, cover, and reduce heat and simmer until they are tender about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pot and allow to cool. Then cut the mirliton in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Scoop out the flesh keeping the shell intact. Chop the flesh and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables, the chopped flesh, the bay leaf, thyme and shrimp stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until any liquid in the skillet evaporates, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and peppers. When the vegetables are very tender, increase the heat to medium-high, add the shrimp, and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm. 

Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Add the crabmeat and stir gently to mix. Adjust seasoning. Mirliton has a delicate flavor, greatly enhanced by shrimp. This is not meant to be a fiery hot dish, simply a savory experience, so don't over season.

Spoon the mixture into the mirliton shells, dust the top with the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, and bake until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned about 30 minutes.

Rabbit Fricassee

I had thought off and on for years about cooking a rabbit. While in New Orleans recently, I found a frozen rabbit in the freezer section and decide the time to experiment is now. I searched my cookbook collection and eventually found this recipe online.  Thanks to Emeril Lagasse for this delicious recipe. If you've never cooked rabbit, this is an excellent one to try.  The next time, I'll buy two!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 rabbits, rinsed and cut into 8 pieces each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 bunch green onions, chopped (green and white parts separated)
2 garlic cloves
1 t. Emeril's Essence Seasoning
4 cups chicken broth, plus more if necessary
Cooked white rice

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.  Add the rabbit and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the rabbit to a plate lined with paper towels. 

Reduce the heat to medium, add the flour, and stir constantly to make a golden-brown roux, about 10 minutes. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, white parts of the green onions, garlic, and Emeril's Essence Seasoning. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Return the rabbit to the skillet and simmer, covered, until the rabbit is very tender, about 3 hours, adding more broth as necessary if the mixture becomes too dry.

Add green parts of the green onions to rabbit and cook for 15 minutes. Serve the rabbit and gravy over rice.

Deviled Eggs with Whole Grain Dijon Mustard and Capers

For this serving platter, I made two types of deviled eggs. I'll provide the recipes for both. Half of the eggs were my old standby: Duke's mayo, yellow mustard, and sweet pickle relish.  The remaining half was a new version: Duke's mayo, whole grain Dijon mustard, and capers.  Dinner guests always fight over my deviled eggs. That makes me happy.  I thought the plate was really pretty with two different types served.

Always remember to boil an extra egg or two when you're preparing deviled eggs. You want the plated eggs to have LOTS of filling. There are few things as sad as skimpy deviled eggs in a gorgeous egg plate. Chop up the extra yolks AND whites in your filling. Your diners will never know they are enjoying that little 'extra' in their deviled eggs!

Deviled Eggs with Whole Grain Dijon Mustard and Capers
4 hard-boiled eggs
2 T. Duke's mayo
1 - 1 1/2 t. Whole Grain Dijon mustard
dash of salt
a grind or two of black pepper
2 t. capers

Carefully peel eggs and slice lengthwise. Remove yolks and place them in a small bowl. Mash yolks and the white from one of the boiled eggs together with a fork. Place remaining egg whites onto the egg plate.

Stir in mayo, mustard, seasoning, and capers. You'll want a firm filling so start with 1 T. mayo and add as needed. If you use jumbo eggs, you'll need more than if you're using small eggs.

When filling is well combined, using a teaspoon, carefully fill the eggs whites. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sweet Pickle Relish Deviled Eggs
4 hard-boiled eggs
2 T. Duke's mayo
1 - 1 1/2 t. yellow mustard
dash of salt
a grind or two of black pepper
1 T. sweet (or dill!) pickle relish

Carefully peel eggs and slice lengthwise. Remove yolks and place them in a small bowl. Mash yolks and the white from one of the boiled eggs together with a fork. Place remaining egg whites onto the egg plate.

Stir in mayo, mustard, seasoning, and relish. You'll want a firm filling so start with 1 T. mayo and add as needed. If you are using jumbo eggs, you'll need more than if you're using small eggs.

When filling is well combined, using a teaspoon, carefully fill the eggs whites. Garnish with either paprika or chopped chives.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jambalaya Stuffed Peppers

One of the items I purchased in New Orleans before leaving for home was 1 1/2 lbs. of freshly ground Cajun pork sausage.  Feel feel to substitute any spicy hot ground sausage for this dish.

1 - 1/2 lbs. spicy sausage
1 package Zatarain's Jambalaya, prepared according to package directions
5 - 6 bell peppers, cut through the stem lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
1 - 14.5 oz. can of stewed tomatoes (with onions, peppers, celery)
1 - 6 oz. can of tomato paste
8 oz. water

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, stirring with a wooden spoon to break it down into crumbles.  

While the sausage is cooking, prepare jambalaya.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, and water until well combined. Pour 1 cup of tomato mixture into the baking dish. Arrange peppers in baking dish and place in oven for 15 minutes.

When jambalaya is cooked and sausage is browned, add sausage to jambalaya and stir to combine. Add remaining tomato mixture to jambalaya and sausage.

Remove peppers form oven and using a serving spoon, fill the peppers with the jambalaya.

Cover with foil and return to oven for another 30 minutes or until peppers are tender. Spoon some of the tomato mixture over the peppers if desired.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dining Out New Orleans Area: S & H Good Eats Cafe, Slidell, LA

After enjoying a long weekend inNew Orleans, we stopped at Rouse's Grocery for some specialties to bring home. And it was long past breakfast time! As we drove across the Twin Spans over Lake Pontchartrain, I searched Yelp for a breakfast/brunch spot in Slidell, Louisiana. 

This really cozy eatery is located at 1830 Highway 190 West, Slidell, LA 70460.  Imagine walking through the door of your gramma's house and there are eight tables set up for dining. Some are two tops, some four, and a larger "family style" table in the middle of the room.  As we walked up onto the porch to add our names to the sign in sheet, there were three other people waiting for a table. Shortly after signing in, a server told the other diners a table was ready. They generously invited us to sit at the family style table with them. What a fun way to make new friends and enjoy some delicious food!  

Coffee was brought immediately for the other diners and I chose sweet iced tea. The breakfast menu is wide and varied.  Everything from combination plates, omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, and pancakes.

I chose the B.L.T. Breakfast Sandwich $4.99 with choice of hash browns, homefries, or grits.  I chose homefries and added an extra side of cheese grits because I love them!

The sandwich was loaded with perfectly cooked bacon, fresh tomatoes, and crisp lettuce. The potatoes had a wonderful crunch on the exterior.  And the cheese grits were creamy and loaded with sharp cheddar cheese.

One of the diners ordered the #4 combination plate which consists of three pancakes, one egg, and choice of bacon, sausage, ham, smoked sausage, or pork chop.  $5.79.  I missed a picture of the protein portion of her meal, but here are two of the HUGE pancakes.

Sweet Harold chose the Everything Omelette $8.99 which includes all the meats and all the veggies! He enjoyed the omelette more than the biscuit. It was a little different than the biscuits he's used to here in Alabama.

If you're ever traveling through Slidell on the way to or from New Orleans, take a few minutes to drive off the main highway and enjoy a delicious, plentiful, and extremely affordable meal at S & H Good Eats Cafe.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Dining Out New Orleans: la Madeleine

We had a wonderful weekend trip to New Orleans to visit family. My son suggested la Madeleine in Metairie. This unique French Bakery and Cafe offers salads, soups, crepes, quiches, and sandwiches. Between all the family members we sampled a wide variety of options. 

Here are a few pictures of the interior. The ambiance is perfect for the food served. With a little concentrating, you can imagine yourself in the French countryside enjoying a leisurely meal.

A variety of coffee and beverages are served. You simply peruse the menu, walk through the line to make your selections for food and drink, and your meal is delivered to your table.

I will quote the menu for the description and prices of the dishes we enjoyed.

Shrimp Crepe Florentine $12.99
Shrimp, spinach, fresh diced tomatoes, and garlic sauteed in a basil pesto cream sauce and folded in a house made herb crepe.

The crepe was very tender and the proportion of shrimp to filling was perfect. 

Quiche Florentine $6.29 Our house-made egg, spinach and Swiss custard baked in a buttery, flaky pie crust.

Doesn't that look delicious? And the diner who ordered the quiche had enough left over for breakfast the next morning!

Sausage and spinach omelette with red onions and Swiss cheese $8.49.  My son enjoyed every bite of his omelette! And don't miss that gorgeous croissant!

Crepe Romanoff $7.79 House-made cinnamon crepe with our legendary Strawberries Romanoff.
Grandson #1 inhaled his dinner.  I can't say that I blame him.

Country French breakfast $8.59
Two eggs cooked to order with a potato galette, bacon or sausage, and a freshly baked butter croissant.

Grandsons #1 and #2 both nibbled on this plate they shared with their mama.  All three gave thumbs up.

And last but not least, my order. I opted for a small cup of cream of mushroom soup ($4.39 if ordered singly) and a French dip sandwich ($9.49 with a choice of chips, Caesar salad or Tomato Basil Pesto Pasta Salad; I opted for the cup of soup for $1.49 upcharge).  Both were exquisite. I thoroughly enjoyed the soup and next time would be more than happy to slurp down a bowl with a croissant on the side!

The soup was thick and had a pronounced mushroom flavor. Absolutely delicious.

The roast beef was tender and flavorful and the au jus for dipping was hot and well seasoned. The sourdough bread was a great choice, the caramelized onions were sweet, and the horseradish sauce was creamy with just enough "bite."

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Chicken Burgers with Hand Cut Fries

If you haven't tried a chicken burger, it's a great alternative to a red meat burger. Ground chicken can be found at your local supermarket. Ground white meat chicken will be more expensive. Packages labeled strictly ground chicken will include both white and dark meat and will be more flavorful.

The addition of your favorite seasonings is a must to ramp up the flavor. Serving hand cut fries alongside is not a bad idea, either!

Here's my version:

1 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground chicken
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/4 t. granulated garlic
1/4 t. onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and lightly mix together. Shape into patties. Add 1 t. olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.  

Cook burgers 3 - 4 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Toast the bun halves in the skillet until golden brown and then assemble your burger with your favorite toppings and condiments. For mine, I used Duke's mayo, romaine lettuce, onion slices, dill pickles, Heinz 57 Sauce, and French's mustard. 

For the fries, as my general rule, I will prepare one large potato per person and then add one or two extra potatoes.  Adjust yours according to whether you have big eaters!

3 - 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 - 3 cups of vegetable oil (will depend on the size of your cooking vessel)
Deep heavy saucepan or Dutch oven

Add enough oil to the skillet or pan to have about 4 - 5 inches of oil. Heat over high heat until a pinch of bread dropped into the oil sizzles immediately.

CAREFULLY add potatoes to the hot oil a few at a time. You don't want the oil to boil over! Frying the potatoes in batches makes it easier for the potatoes to brown. Lower heat to medium-high and separate the potatoes while they cook with metal tongs or a metal skimmer.

When fries reach the brownness you like, remove from oil onto a paper towel-lined plate.  Repeat with remaining potatoes in batches until all the potatoes are cooked.

Salt the fries immediately as they come from the hot oil.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Bacon Hashbrown Quiche

Thanks to Southern Living for this recipe which is another one which can be served for either breakfast or lunch.  Instead of a pastry crust, how about a crunchy crust made with shredded potatoes and bacon? Gruyere cheese and Dijon mustard are wonderful compliments to give the filling a delicious flavor. A cast iron skillet is a must for this rustic meal. I substituted the course ground variety as opposed to the smooth mustard.  And I had fresh chives I used in place of the green onions.

4 thick cut bacon slices, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz. fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups frozen shredded hash browns (about 12 ounces)
1 1/2 t. kosher salt, divided
3/4 t. black pepper, divided
6 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
4 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 T. coarse ground Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sliced scallions (about 2 scallions)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cook bacon in a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until browned and almost crisp, but still soft, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve drippings in skillet, and let cool slightly.  

Add asparagus to the skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and just beginning to soften about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to a medium bowl.

Add hash browns, bacon, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. of pepper to the hot drippings in the skillet over medium-high heat; stir to combine. Using a wooden spoon, spread mixture into an even layer across the bottom and 1 inch up sides of the skillet.

Transfer to preheated oven, and back until lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Whisk together eggs, half and half, Gruyere, Dijon, and remaining 1 t. salt and 1/2 pepper in a large bowl.  Stir in scallions.

Remove skillet from oven, and scatter asparagus over crust. Pour egg mixture over asparagus, and return to oven.

Bake until egg mixture is just set, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mexican Rice with Sausage and Fried (or Poached) Eggs

This recipe can be made with either hot breakfast sausage or chorizo. You can either poach or fry the eggs.  Serve the mixture with hot corn tortillas. This is a great alternative to Taco Tuesdays. It also works for a breakfast as well. Add some refried beans for a nice side dish for dinnertime.

1 lb. bulk spicy pork sausage
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 - 2 seeded jalapenos, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. beef base
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. black pepper
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. ground coriander
1 cup uncooked yellow rice
2 cups water
3 - 4 large eggs
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 or 4 small grated radishes
chopped cilantro
taco sauce
Warm 6-inch corn or flour tortillas

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook sausage, crumbling meat, with onions and peppers until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Stir in beef base, cumin, pepper, chili powder, and ground coriander.

Add rice and brown lightly. Pour in water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 18 - 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Transfer to a platter and keep warm. Sprinkle with radishes and cheese.

To poach eggs: Bring 2 - 3 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan or skillet with high sides; adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Break cold eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl; holding bowl close to the water surface, slip the egg into water. Cook, uncovered, until whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken but aren't hard, 3 - 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift eggs out of the water.

To fry eggs:  Heat 2 - 3 T. of butter or bacon grease in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Break egg into the skillet and lightly salt and pepper. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes and carefully turn the egg using a thin spatula. Cook for another minute or two until whites are set, but yolks are still soft and runny.

Place eggs on rice; sprinkle with radishes cilantro and serve with the warmed tortillas and taco sauce if desired.

Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Twice Baked Potatoes with Creole Seasoned Shrimp

Oh, my. Where to begin with this dish? It could easily be served as an appetizer. But, it could also be a main course dish with a nice green salad served alongside. This is the perfect recipe to use small size shrimp. They need to be bite-sized. While the potatoes bake, you can peel and devein the shrimp and prepare the filling. You'll impress family and friends with this one.

2 large sized baking potatoes
olive oil
kosher salt

1 stick butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 t. minced garlic
1 - 2 t. Creole seasoning
1 lb. small shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T. sour cream
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh chives, thinly sliced

Scrub potatoes well. Lightly coat with olive oil and roll in kosher salt. Pierce several times with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking. Place in a preheated 400-degree oven. Bake for an hour or so until done. Remove from oven.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so. Slice the potatoes lengthwise. Carefully scoop out potato pulp leaving a thin "rim" of potato in the peeling to help support the shell. Place potato pulp in a bowl.

While potatoes are baking, prepare the filling.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onions, bell pepper, and celery. Allow to cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or so until vegetables have softened.  Add garlic and Creole seasoning and cook 1 - 2 minutes longer.

Add shrimp and lower heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are pink and opaque.

Remove skillet from heat. Add sour cream and cheese and stir to combine with the shrimp and the vegetables.  

Next, add potatoes and stir to thoroughly combine.

Using a small spoon, carefully fill the reserved potato shells. Feel free to pile up the filling. Your guests will be glad you did!

Place back into the oven for 5-7 minutes or so to completely reheat the potatoes. Place on serving platter or individual plates, and top with freshly ground black pepper and chives.