Louisiana Seafood Mixed Grill
Serves 4. Recipe is by chef Tory McPhail, executive chef at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, who prepared the recipe to win the 2009 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off during the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.
1 tsp. vegetable oil
4 ears sweet corn; you may use 3 ears and supplement with baby corn if available
Salt and white pepper, to taste
3 ozs. butter, divided
1 shallot, peeled and brunoise (cooked in butter)
2 ozs. Jack Daniels
2 ozs. cream
½ lb. jumbo lump blue crab, picked over for shells
1 tsp. fresh thyme, picked from stem
2 large, ripe Creole or heirloom tomatoes, sliced thinly (you may choose to peel the tomatoes ahead of time)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 oz. basil leaves, chiffonade (cut in thin strips)
1 lb. black drum fillets
1½ tsps. Creole seasoning
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1⁄3 lb. (10- to 12-count) white shrimp with heads on or 4 whole shrimp
1 oz. basil oil
¼ oz. chili oil
¼ oz. herbs or micro sprouts, as garnish
Method: Preheat a gas grill, charcoal grill or grill pan to medium heat. Use vegetable oil to lightly grease the grill.
Method for the corn:
1. Remove the husk and silk from the ears of corn and lightly season with salt and white pepper. Place on the grill and cook on all sides for 5 minutes or until the corn is cooked with a light golden-brown color.
2. Remove from the grill and place into a medium salad bowl. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cob using a serrated knife. Using the back of the knife, scrape the corn milk from the cobs into the bowl with the kernels and set to the side. Discard the cobs.
3. Place a medium sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add one of the 3 ounces of butter to the pan and swirl. Add the shallot and continue to swirl for 30 seconds.
4. Add the corn and corn milk and season with salt and white pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
5. Remove the pan from the heat, deglaze with Jack Daniels, return to the heat and flambé. When flames subside, add the cream and reduce to sauce consistency.
6. Fold in the jumbo lump blue crab, add the thyme and cook for 1 more minute. Swirl in the last 2 ounces of butter, check the seasoning and set aside to keep warm.
Method for the tomatoes:
Choose two ripe Creole or heirloom tomatoes for this dish. You can remove the skin if you choose, but it is not necessary. Slice each tomato into 6 even slices, discarding the core and the ends, and shingle them out onto a cookie sheet. Season both sides of the tomato with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. Chiffonade the basil leaves and sprinkle across the top of the tomatoes. Set aside.
Method for the seafood:
1. Portion the drum into 4 equal pieces, ensuring there is no skin, scales or bones on the fillets. Season on both sides and reserve.
2. Remove the shells from the shrimp, leaving the heads and tails on but exposing the meat in the middle. Using a sharp paring knife, devein and rinse the body of all impurities, then season and set to the side.
3. Place the drum and the shrimp on the grill and cook for 2½ to 3 minutes on each side or until just cooked. Take extra care to not overcook the seafood.
To finish the dish:
Spread out four hot entree plates that have been prewarmed in an oven. To each plate, fan out three slices of tomato. Place one piece of drum on top of that. Add one shrimp to the top of the drum. Remove the large pieces of jumbo lump crab from the pan and place it over the top of the shrimp. Spoon the remainder of the sauce over the shrimp and around the outside of the plate. Drizzle on basil oil and hot chili oil and garnish the plates with the picked fresh herbs or micro sprouts.