By Doc Lawrence:
My Atlanta inland home at dinner time regularly had fresh seafood on the table. My father worked on weekends for a fish monger whose store had counters of red snapper, grouper, flounder, mackerel, and mullet resting on ice. Mounds of live oysters covered a floor in the rear. Coolers were packed with shrimp. It was a popular place on payday.
My seafood palate was in place when I had my first bowl of gumbo or bit into a fried Grouper Sandwich and finished everything with a dozen plump oysters on ice. The first Po’ Boy was devoured in the Florida Panhandle fishing village of Carabelle. I was introduced to Crab Bisque in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake is one of those desserts that survived the passage of time. Country music superstar Trisha Yearwood is a Georgia girl and celebrity chef. Her recipe mirrors the best from great Southern kitchens.
Low Country Crab Bisque
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 white onion (small finely chopped)
6 scallions (thinly sliced)
2 bay leaves
¼ cup all-purpose flour
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced roasted garlic
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch of ground cloves
1 pinch of ground mace, 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
½ tablespoon Tabasco
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds lump crabmeat
In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, scallions, and bay leaves and cook over moderate heat until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is thickened, and the vegetables are very tender, 15 minutes. Add the roasted garlic and milk; bring to a simmer. Stir in the sherry, ketchup, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cream, and Tabasco and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crab, simmer until hot. Discard the bay leaves. Serve the bisque with oyster crackers.
Panhandle Oyster Po’ Boy
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon cayenne
18 small, shucked oysters
vegetable oil for frying
Cuban, French, or Italian bread
1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
While that’s warming up, whisk together the egg, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the rest of the black pepper. In a second shallow dish, whisk together the cornmeal, remaining salt, and the cayenne.
Drag each oyster first through the flour, then the milk, and finally in the cornmeal. Place coated oysters on a wire rack and repeat until all are finished.
Pour enough oil to come about 3 inches high in a heavy bottomed pot. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the temperature to 375°F. Adjust the temperature to maintain this temperature.
While the oil is warming up, slice the bread in half crosswise, and then horizontally, so you’ll have two five-inch sandwich segments. Place the tops back on the bottoms and then stick these in the oven until warm, about 5 minutes. When done, remove and set aside.
Cook the oysters in batches for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on to the cut sides of the bread, top with lettuce, and then some of the oysters. Serve.
Trisha Yearwood’s Georgia Pineapple Upside Down Cake
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
9 slices canned pineapple in juice, drained
5 maraschino cherries
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the butter in an 8-by-8-by-2-inch square baking pan and set it over low heat to melt. When melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter. Arrange the pineapple rings in a single layer on top of the sugar, making 3 rows. Cut the maraschino cherries in half, and place one half, cut-side up, in the center of each pineapple ring. Set the pan aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt, then sift once more. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, mix together the shortening, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour. Stir only enough after each addition to combine.
Pour the batter carefully into the pineapple-lined baking pan and bake for 40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center or pressing the cake lightly with a fingertip; if the impression springs back, the cake is done. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and place a serving dish on top. Invert the cake onto the serving dish. Leave the pan inverted over the cake for several moments to allow the syrup to soak into the cake.
Dry Creek Vineyard’s 2019 Chardonnay Block 10 from California is a refreshing beverage with these seafood standards. Dessert? A delicious Tawny Port, gently chilled.
Longer days and springtime magic are just ahead with visits to white sand beaches and for the very lucky, fishing, watching sunsets with romantic dining in Key West. These recipes are perfect for optimists.
Oyster and Spinach Salad
3 egg whites
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
20 each Louisiana oysters, shucked
1 pound baby spinach
1 head frisée lettuce, cleaned
8 pieces of bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
1/2 cup blue cheese, in all
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup grape seed oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon chives, chopped
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
black pepper, to taste
Emeril’s Lobster Thermidor (with modifications)
2 lemons, halved
1 onion, quartered
1 Bouquet Garni, recipe follows*
5 Florida Lobsters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1/8 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
1 bay leaf
1 small sprig fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Bring a pot of salted water containing the lemons, quartered onion, and bouquet garni to a boil. Add the lobsters and cook until red and firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise with a heavy sharp knife and carefully extract the tail meat. Place the halved lobster shells on a baking sheet, cut sides down, and roast until dry, 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
Cook, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Add the cognac and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly to incorporate. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the cream, stirring constantly, until all is incorporated. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 1 minute. (The mixture will be very thick.) Add the salt and pepper and stir well.
Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese, the mustard, tarragon, and parsley. Fold in the lobster meat. Divide the mixture among the lobster shells and place stuffed side up on a clean baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each lobster with a portion of the remaining cheese and broil until the top is golden brown, 5 minutes. Place lobster halves on large plates, garnish with additional parsley, and serve immediately.
Yield: 1 bouquet
Place the bay leaf, thyme, parsley sprigs, and peppercorns in the center of a 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth or a large paper coffee filter. Draw up the sides to form a pouch and tie with kitchen twine or unflavored dental floss.
*Bouquet Garni is a small bag filled with herbs and seasonings that is used to flavor poaching liquids and broths. By placing the items in a bag, the liquid stays free of debris and the seasonings can easily be extracted. The ingredients in the bouquet garni vary to suit the final dish.
End of the Road Key Lime Pie
Ingredients for the graham cracker crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs from about 12 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2 large egg whites
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
9-inch pie plate, stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (optional)
Make the graham cracker crust:
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until set and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
Make the filling:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large mixing bowl with a whisk or hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Add the lime juice and whisk until combined. Gently fold in about 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the mixture then add the remaining egg whites and fold until just evenly combined. Gently spread the mixture in the pre-baked crust and bake until just set in the center, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. DO AHEAD: The pie can be baked and stored, covered, in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Garnish and serve.
In a medium bowl, combine the heavy cream and sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Cut the pie into slices and top each with a dollop of whipped cream. Riesling made from the noble grape, is so refreshing and versatile. The 2018 Rheingau Weingut Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett gently chilled adds to the enjoyment of these dishes including the Key Lime Pie.
These highlight some of the spectacular cuisine in Tampa. My first visit was during my freshman year at FSU when a nice, lovely classmate invited me to visit her home there, allowing a pilgrim from Georgia to enjoy a tour into the wonders of Ybor City, the Cuban-Spanish district of Tampa where great restaurants and Flamenco flourished. The experience was transformational. The city still showcases Old and New World Influences. For me, the food, particularly Cuban, holds much of the charm.
Lettuce, red leaf, or blend, 3 large, ripe avocados, cut into 1-inch pieces, 4 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces, 1 medium red onion halved and cut into thin slices, 4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
Garlic Lime Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup lime juice, 6 garlic cloves mashed, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste
Arrange a layer of lettuce on serving dish, with tomatoes, avocados, and onions on top of it. Crumble the Feta cheese and drizzle garlic lime-infused vinaigrette to finish it. Make vinaigrette by combining vinegar, lime juice and mashed garlic together and whisking olive oil slowly so that they are well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm fresh Cuban bread.
Cuban Pork Roast
Ingredients for the Mojo:
8 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons (8g) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (8g) freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (about 1 small handful) minced fresh oregano leaves1/2 cup (120ml) fresh juice
from 1 to 2 oranges (see note)
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh juice from 3 to 4 limes (see note)
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
For the Pork and to Finish:
1 (6- to 8-pound; 3 to 3.5kg) boneless pork shoulder roast, rind removed 1/4 cup (about 1 small handful) finely chopped fresh mint leaves 3 tablespoons (about 3 very large pinches) finely chopped fresh oregano leaves Lime wedges, for serving Steamed rice, black beans, and maduros, for serving
For the Mojo:
Combine garlic, cumin, pepper, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil in a large bowl and whisk. Season to taste generously with salt. Transfer half of mojo to a sealed container and reserve in the refrigerator. Add pork to remaining mojo and turn to coat. If desired, transfer pork and marinade to a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight before continuing.
For the Pork and to Finish:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 275°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place pork and juices on top and fold up foil, crimping to seal loosely but making sure that there is room for air to circulate inside. Place in oven and roast for 3 hours. Fold back foil, increase oven temperature to 325°F, and continue roasting, basting pork with pan juices occasionally, until pork shows almost no resistance when a metal skewer or knife is inserted into it and the surface is crackly and brown, 2 to 3 hours longer. Remove pork from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour accumulated pork juices into a bowl and discard all except 1 cup. Add reserved mojo to pork drippings, along with fresh chopped mint and oregano. Whisk together and season to taste with salt. Serve pork by slicing or shredding, passing mint mojo and lime wedges on the side. Serve rice and plantains on the side. Reserve any leftovers for sandwiches.
Arroz con Leche
1 cup rice (short grain)
2 1/2 cups water
a pinch of salt
1 cinnamon stick
3 strips of lemon peel (or zest)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar
grated cinnamon and or cinnamon stick for garnish
Wash the rice – this gets rid of much of the starch. To wash, place the rice in a large saucepan, cover with water and swirl around. The water will get cloudy. Pour out the cloudy water, use a strainer to keep the rice in the pot. Repeat 3 or 4 times until the water is clear. In the same saucepan, over high heat, mix the following ingredients: rinsed rice, 2 1/2 cups water, cinnamon stick, lemon peel and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is mostly absorbed and rice is tender. About 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon and lemon. While the rice is cooking whisk together the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and the vanilla.
Stir the milk mixture into the cooked rice. Cook uncovered over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until liquid is mostly absorbed and you begin to see the texture of the rice as the liquid becomes absorbed. The mixture will take on a slightly caramel color. Stir in sugar. Remove from heat and spoon into individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chill for about an hour before serving.
Wine Suggestions: White wines will pair well. An Albariño from Spain, Chenin Blanc from California’s Dry Creek or Pinot Gris from Oregon’s heralded King Estate.
The pleasures of the dinner table make possible interludes of joy each day. Days may be short now, but spring approaches methodically, inevitably. Let’s resolve to celebrate life and love with good food and wine. Good times, long postponed, return soon.
3 to 5 anchovies packed in oil, depending on taste
2 medium garlic cloves
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup neutral oil (like grape seed oil, safflower oil or avocado oil), plus more as needed
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
4 cups torn or cubed day-old bread, about 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs like rosemary thyme, oregano and Italian seasoning, optional
2 hearts romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped or torn into small pieces Parmesan cheese shavings
Using a chef’s knife mince the anchovies and garlic into small bits. Using the side of the knife mash them into a very fine paste by pushing and pulling the mound of anchovies and garlic across the cutting board. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice and mustard together until frothy. Placing a dishcloth underneath the bowl helps to steady it as you whisk. Get into a comfortable whisking position and while you whisk with one hand, slowly stream in the oil with the other hand. You are looking to add the oil in tiny drips and will notice that as you whisk in the oil, the mixture in the bowl will start to lighten in color and thicken. When all of the oil has been added, check the consistency. If it’s too thick, whisk in a teaspoon or so of water. If it’s too thin, continue to whisk and stream in a little more oil. Finish by whisking in the mashed anchovies, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Taste and generously season with salt and pepper. Store, covered in the refrigerator. Dressing can be made a day in advance.
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, toss the pieces of bread with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add dried herbs, if using, and toss well. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until crisp and light golden around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and then store in an airtight bag for 2 to 3 days.
Toss lettuce with a few generous spoonfuls of the dressing. If the salad looks dry, add a bit more dressing. Scatter over a few handfuls of the croutons and finish with parmesan cheese shavings.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, white and tender green parts, coarsely chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and coarsely chopped
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon tightly packed saffron
3 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds non-oily white fish bones and heads
4 thyme sprigs
4 parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 baking potato (8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
2 large egg yolks
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon harissa
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 leek, white and tender green parts, finely diced
1/2 medium fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large tomato—peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed
16 mussels, debearded
8 large shrimp (1/2 pound), shelled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds snapper or monkfish fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped basil
8 thin slices of baguette, brushed with olive oil and toasted
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots, leeks, fennel, and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the saffron and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the fish bones and heads, 3 quarts of water, the thyme, parsley, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat for 45 minutes. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the pot and boil over high heat until it is reduced to 6 cups, about 20 minutes. Season the broth with salt and pepper. In a small saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the potato until tender, about 7 minutes.
Drain well and transfer to a food processor. With the machine on, add the egg yolks, chopped garlic, red pepper and harissa and process to a puree. With the machine on, add the olive oil and process very briefly until it’s just incorporated. Scrape the rouille into a bowl and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, leek and fennel and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the potato and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the clams and cook over moderate heat until they start to open. Add the mussels, shrimp and fish and simmer until all of the seafood is just cooked, about 4 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and basil, season with salt and pepper. Spread the baguette toasts with some of the rouille. Spoon the bouillabaisse into 4 large, shallow bowls and serve with the toasts and lemon wedges. Pass the remaining rouille at the table.
Gâteau au Chocolate
2 teaspoon softened unsalted butter
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
8 ounce good-quality bittersweet (about 60%) chocolate, such as Ghirardelli 12
tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into a few chunks.
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup sifted all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8-inch springform pan with the softened butter. Dust with the cocoa powder; tap out excess. Break up chocolate into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add butter chunks. Zap in the microwave 1 minute. Stir with a flexible spatula. If need be, zap another 30 seconds to melt. Stir until smooth. Crack eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on high speed, gradually cascading in sugar and salt, until pale, thick, and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes. (Lacking a stand mixer, use a handheld mixer and coordination, or a balloon whisk and upper-arm strength.) Pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture; beat on low to combine.
Sprinkle in flour; beat on low just to combine. Mix in any renegade specks of flour with a flexible spatula. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until puffed and surface is dry, and a toothpick jabbed in center only just comes out clean. (Begin checking at 35 minutes.) Don’t fret over any cracks in the top. Cool on a wire rack 20 minutes; remove sides of pan. Enjoy warm with whipped cream.
Wine Suggestions: Exquisite Cru Chablis from Burgundy. Madeira, the glorious fortified wine, loves chocolate.
Lobster from Florida? They are remarkably delicious and while they aren’t as widely known and their Maine cousins, they lack nothing in flavor. Dickie Brennan’s New Orleans Restaurants enjoy global acclaim. His steak recipe is elegantly delicious. Finish with a heritage Kentucky Bourbon bread pudding.
Florida Lobster Bisque
1 ½ pounds cooked Florida lobster meat
1 rib Florida celery, finely chopped
1 Florida carrot, finely chopped
1 Florida tomato, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
½ cup brandy
½ cup dry sherry
4 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Slice cooked lobster meat into medallions, reserving a few slices for garnish. Coarsely chop remaining slices, cover, and chill. In a 6-quart stockpot sauté the vegetables, garlic, herbs, and peppercorns in oil over medium high heat until soft. Carefully add the brandy and sherry; simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add the fish stock and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain the stock into a large saucepan, discard remaining solids. Add tomato paste and simmer for 10 minutes until stock is reduced to 3 cups of liquid. Stir in cream and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk into bisque. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring, until slightly thickened. Add chopped lobster meat and simmer until lobster meat is heated through. Add salt and pepper. Serve garnished with reserved lobster medallions
Dickie Brennan’s House Filet
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup granulated onion
2 tablespoons paprika
4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 ounces unsalted butter
2 ounces all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
6 ounces fresh or frozen spinach
1 medium potato
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 ounces white onion, sliced
1-ounce wild mushroom mix, such as shiitake, crimini or oyster
1-ounce Tasso ham, small diced
1/2-ounce green onion, finely chopped
Two 4-ounce fillets
Cornmeal, for dipping
Worcestershire sauce, for serving
For the seasoning: In a large bowl, mix together the salt, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne and black pepper. For the creamed spinach: In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Increase the heat to medium and stir until the mixture turns a light golden color. Add the warm milk and cook, whisking continuously, until very smooth, 10 minutes. Wilt the spinach if using fresh or cook the spinach and squeeze out all of the excess water if using frozen. Fold the spinach into the sauce. Season with the Creole seasoning and keep warm over low heat until ready to use.
For the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the potato until cooked through, 50 minutes. Cool the potato to room temperature, then peel and dice into 1/4-inch cubes. In a large pot, preheat enough oil to cover the potatoes by an inch to 350 degrees F. Add the potatoes and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oil using a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.
Melt the butter in a sauté pan and add the garlic; cook until lightly toasted. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms and Tasso, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Add the fried potatoes and toss all ingredients to mix well. Season with the Creole seasoning. Finish with the green onion.
For the steak:
Bring the steak to room temperature. Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the steak with the Creole seasoning on all sides. Cook the steak under the broiler until the meat bounces back when you poke it for medium. Rest the steak for 10 minutes.
For the oysters:
Preheat the deep fryer. Toss some oysters in the cornmeal, coating completely. Put the oysters in the deep fryer and cook until golden brown and they float to the top, about 3 minutes, and then drain the oysters on paper towels. Spread the creamed spinach evenly in a circle on each serving plate. Spoon the potatoes in the center of the plate. Place the fillet on top of the potatoes. Arrange the fried oysters around the fillet and serve with the Worcestershire sauce. Bon Appetit!
Kentucky Bourbon Bread Pudding
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 slices bread
For Bourbon Sauce:
1 beaten egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
Bourbon to taste
In top of double-boiler over hot water, add brown sugar. Butter bread slices, dice into cubes and sprinkle over sugar. Add raisins. Beat eggs with milk; stir in vanilla and salt. Pour over bread but do not stir. Cook over simmering water for 1 hour.
To make sauce, combine 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a saucepan. Heat until sugar dissolves. Beat together 1 egg and sugar mixture, adding small amounts of mixture at a time. Return egg mixture to hot saucepan, stirring constantly. Add good bourbon to taste and serve over warm bread pudding.
Wine Suggestions: Lobster Bisque soars with a Brut Champagne. An elegant Gevrey-Chambertin (Napoleon’s favorite) adds to the enjoyment of the marvelously delicious steak. Dessert? Try chilled Tennessee Honey Jack.