Local is Best
This post goes out to my Floridian friend most call Pierce and to her readers on Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor. We have many things in common; one of them is a love for local seafood.
When someone comments on one of my recipes, that makes me smile, proud and thankful. When a reader goes to the trouble to replicate and cook the recipe, that makes me beam with joy, confident in my way of cooking and appreciative of friends. Now, when they say they like it, well, you know the feeling – it’s a good thing. But, when someone cooks the dish again, comments on how good it is and goes and replicates it maybe a third time – well, I guess you might know that feeling too. It really is a good thing.
Pierce is a favorite blogger friend and a great source in discovering new recipes, like on her Magazine Monday and her many posts of recipes from an array of cookbooks. How she finds the time in discovering these wonderful meals, I dunno. But I am grateful. She also like to discover fun and interesting places, eateries and things to do on her bike ventures tooling around her neighboring area, sometimes into other states too. Because you Pierce, love the area and ‘cause I know you like seafood, I set off on an adventure of my own; to create a recipe using fresh local seafood.
With the waters of Mobile Bay now opened, local shrimp is a must for my recipes. I insist in buying local, it’s fresher and supports our area fishermen and shrimpers. That’s why you haven’t seen any shrimp recipes lately – no imports in my house. Mobile Bay has two types of shrimp. White shrimp that has a slight greenish gray shell and flesh that is pearly white, and summer ‘brownies’ with a reddish brown shell and flesh turns pink when cooked. White shrimp migrate within the cooler waters and are most abundant in spring and fall. They are my favorite.
As for the cheese, I used Swiss that gave a slightly sharp edge, Gruyere might bring about a milder nutty flavor, a young Gouda would too and both melts well but for a gentler experience, use an aged Monterey Jack.
Seafood Artichoke Bake
2 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 pound sweet bay scallops, small sea scallops or crab leg meat
2 teaspoons Slap Ya Mama white pepper blend Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic pods, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, minced
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt to taste
2 1/2 ounces Swiss, Gruyere or Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
2 -14 oz cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 -8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sauté garlic and bay leaves until garlic is golden brown. Strain garlic and bay leaves from the butter leaving butter in the pan, discard garlic and bay leaves.
Add the margarine to the saucepan over medium heat, add the flour and stir in the onions. Cook for a few minutes stirring all while. Add the parsley and slowly pour in the cream. Stir until heated through. Add the wine and return to a low simmer. Add in the Swiss cheese, remove from heat and stir until blended. Add just a little salt if desired. Allow the sauce to cool. Stir in the lemon juice.
In a large skillet, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Over medium high heat, sear the scallops for just a few minutes on all sides. Do not overcook. Remove to an oblong casserole dish. If using crab legs, chop cooked meat into bite size pieces, sprinkle with the white pepper blend and add to the dish.
Sauté the shrimp on each side for a minute or two until they just change to a nice pink color (bay white shrimp will turn translucent with just a slight pink cast). Add to the scallops.
Mix in the sliced mushrooms and artichokes to the shrimp and scallops. When sauce is cool to the touch, fold it into the dish. Sprinkle the Romano cheese on top.
Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 20 minutes or until just bubbly.
Serve over white rice or pasta with toasted French bread.
Note: Slap Ya Mama is a Louisianan specialty. The white pepper blend contains in order: salt, red pepper, white pepper and garlic.