August 29, 2010

Seafood Artichoke Bake

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.

Bay scallops are tender and sweeter than sea scallops and the ones I like best come from our neighboring Florida panhandle. The bivalves inhabit the shallow waters of the bays and estuaries along much of Apalachicola. The bay around Port St. Joe and Apalachicola Bay at St. George Sound is a favorite place to wade and gather up a bucket full. However, the easiest place to find them is at the many seafood houses in the area. As for the recipe, if you cannot purchase fresh bay scallops or dislike the earthy seafood taste, crabmeat is offered in the recipe.

I often add Cajun spice to give flavor and add to the experience of eating seafood. In this case, the seasonings are underlying, layered with the creamy onion sauce, the nutty flavor of cheese and earthiness of the scallops, mushrooms and artichokes.

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
This casserole, loosely based on an old Mobile shrimp recipe, has added layers of flavor and options in ingredients.
8 to 10 servings

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
Olive oil
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
    If using scallops, add 1/2 teaspoon of the white pepper blend, toss to coat and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon to the shrimp, toss and set aside.
    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.

    17 comments :

    1. Mmm, you have many of my favorite things in this dish! I haven't cooked with artichoke nearly as often as I should, and this sure gives me a kick in the pants to do it!!

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    2. What is a seafood lover from Phoenix to do?? ;-)
      It is a huge delima for me, finding fresh, natural, sustainable seafood & fish. *sighhhhhh
      I think that this might be my new favorite recipe minus the margerine ;-) I will put this recipe in my "To Make Immediately" folder!
      thanks for sharing.

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    3. I am drooling over the shrimp and scallops. How I wish Arizona were a coastal state...except that that would involve something like California falling into the ocean... Still, I miss seafood like crazy. This looks fantastic. I even have the Slap Ya Mama white pepper blend in my cupboard.

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    4. I should start cooking with artichokes. Not my preference but that is because I never tried.

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    5. This sounds absolutely, positively amazing. I miss having fresh seafood and have been making do with seafood from the market. I will definitely be trying this! Thank you SO much for posting.

      Erin

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    6. Well I can tell you one thing, when I make this one in my new kitchen it will be going over some pasta for sure!!! lol.. I can just taste this with it...sounds heavenly with all the spices and cheese wow~!

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    7. I'm so pleased that the waters of Mobile Bay are open. I think of you and your kitchen each time I see news about the oil spill. Another great post from you. Thanks.

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    8. I am very happy that I followed your name over from a comment on another page (something about holding your nose when you drink scotch....I love humor). This dish looks happy-dance wonderful. I need scallops and clams!

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    9. gret dish, love all the seafood, and slap ya moma seasoning, love it. love loal shrimp I'm orignally from Aransas Pass, Texas and we have a great shrimping community!!

      sweetlife

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    10. that looks and sounds amazing! i wish i had a big plate of this right about now!

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    11. Another fabulous dish and post and I am drooling! It looks sinfully delicious, and I will simply have to try it! Scallops are not readily available here, but guess substituting crab meat might work very well! Merci beaucoup for the great recipe, you are too much, cher!!!

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    12. Drick, I am drooling over those scallops & prawns! Hmm..mm...salivating! haha... As always, love your seafood dish. Enjoy your day, Guru.
      Cheers, kristy

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    13. I'm so happy you can get local shrimp now!! This is truly a meal worth indulging in. I love the creamy sauce, perfect for dipping crusty bread!

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    14. I am overwhelmed! Thank you for such a nice shout out to my blog Drick! And yes, we sure do share a love of seafood, particularly shrimp.
      This recipe you posted will be on our table soon. Another good one from your kitchen my friend :-0

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    15. I am so happy to hear that they have opened the bay...I am glad that you can get your local favorites and that the fishermen and those that the waters support are on the way back. This is a fantastic dish, the kind of thin that I can get addicted to :)

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    16. Aha....finally you are cooking my dish again......BIG smiles :D I need a big bowl...mmmm. I'm going to cook Mexican tomorrow from your seasoning. I'm going to put BIG smiles on you, right? :D

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    17. My mouth is watering, Drick. As usual with your recipes!! Next time we want to indulge we'll certainly be fixing this. Hope you enjoy your Labor Day weekend!!! Best, Kate (kateiscooking)

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