Saturday, December 4, 2010

Crawfish and Shrimp Cajun Bayou Aubergine Pirogue

Cajun crawfish and shrimp stuffed bayou style dug out  eggplant canoe!
     I learned this recipe a long time ago when I was working with some cooks from Louisiana.  This is traditional New Orleans cooking!  It was not too long ago when dug out canoes were the best way to navigate and fish a bayou in Louisiana.
      The Cajun style stuffing is full of great flavor!  You can make this recipe as mild or as spicy as you like!
     Aubergine Pirogue:
     Peel 1 medium size eggplant with a paring knife.
     Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise.
     Save one half of the eggplant for another recipe.
     Carefully hollow the middle of the eggplant half with a paring knife or melon baller tool, so that the eggplant half resembles a dug out canoe.  Take care not to cut through the bottom of the canoe!
     Reserve the pieces of eggplant scrap that are carved out of the middle of the canoe for later in this recipe.
     Hold the eggplant canoe sideways vertically, and slice a flat spot on the bottom of the canoe so that the eggplant will sit flat and stable on a plate.
     Dredge the eggplant canoe in flour.
     Dip the eggplant in egg wash.
     Dredge the eggplant canoe in plain fine French bread crumbs that are seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360º.
     Fry the breaded eggplant canoe, till it becomes a light golden color.
     Note:  The eggplant will finish cooking later when it is baked, so just fry till the eggplant is about halfway cooked.
     Place the aubergine pirogue on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
     Crawfish, Shrimp and Eggplant Stuffing:
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 5 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 cloves of fine chopped garlic.
     Add 4 tablespoons of chopped onion.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped celery.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped mixed green and red bell pepper.
     Note:  That proportion of vegetables is known as the trinity!
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped green serrano chile pepper.
     Add 1/2 of a chopped green onion.
     Saute till the onions start to turn clear in color.
     Add 6 medium size peeled and deveined shrimp.
     Add 20 to 24 peeled poached crawfish tails.  Be sure to add any orange crawfish fat that may be in the shells.
     Medium chop the reserved eggplant scraps that were carved out of the canoe.
     Add the chopped eggplant.
     Saute till the eggplant and shrimp, till they become halfway cooked.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 cup of shrimp stock.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add sea salt.
     Add white pepper and black pepper.
     Add 1 to 4 pinches of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of paprika.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the liquid in the pan, till only about 1 1/2 ounces of liquid remains.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped Italian parsley.
     Add 1/3 cup of plain fine French bread crumbs.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of whisked egg.
     Fold the ingredients together.
     Note:  If the stuffing looks dry, then add a splash of shrimp stock.  If the stuffing looks wet, then add a little bit of bread crumbs.
     Set the stuffing aside.
     Crawfish and Shrimp Cajun Bayou Aubergine Pirogue:
     Mound the stuffing inside of the aubergine pirogue.
     Try to expose a few shrimp and crawfish tails on the surface of the stuffing.
     Note:  Do not press the stuffing into the canoe, or the stuffing will become too dense.
     Sprinkle a little bit of plain French bread crumbs over the stuffing.
     Brush off any stuffing that may have landed on the edges (gunwales) of the canoe.
     Place the stuffed aubergine pirogue on a wire screen rack on a baking pan.
     Bake the stuffed pirogue in a 325º oven, till it becomes a golden brown color and till it becomes piping hot.
     Sprinkle some very thin bias sliced green onion on a plate.
     Place the Crawfish and Shrimp Cajun Bayou Aubergine Pirogue on the middle of the plate.
     Drop 1 whole poached crawfish in boiling water.
     Remove the crawfish from the hot water after ten seconds.
     Set the crawfish on top of the stuffed eggplant canoe as a garnish.
     This stuffed eggplant needs no sauce!  Ripe creole tomato ragout is a nice accompaniment for this pirogue if you wish to make some.
     The eggplant canoe is tender and it has a very nice texture.  The cajun crawfish and shrimp stuffing is Cajun flavor heaven!  The crawfish garnish adds a nice touch.  The sliced green onion on the plate gives a hint of the color of bayou water.
     This crawfish and shrimp stuffed aubergine pirogue is a very nice traditional Cajun entree.  Hoooh Dawgy!  This is some tasty bayou cookin'!  Yum!  ...  Shawna      

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