Friday, December 13, 2013

Pan Fried Oyster Po' Boy with Louisiana Remoulade

     Poor Boy sandwiches are a Louisiana tradition.  Originally these sandwiches were big, cheap to make and they were served like street vendor food to hungry folk who were on strike.  Sliced meat poor boy sandwiches are usually not garnished and the sandwich ingredients consist of just thin sliced deli meat, cheese and creole mustard, unless a customer asks for the works.
     Louisiana and New Orleans is prime seafood territory.  Fried shrimp, fried catfish and fried oysters are the most popular kinds of poor boy sandwiches.  Seafood poor boy sandwiches in this region are almost always slathered with Louisiana style spicy remoulade.
     There are several kinds of remoulade and the colors can be white, yellow or pinkish orange.  The lighter colored remoulades are French in origin.  The pink or orange remoulades originated in Louisiana.  Catsup, paprika and cayenne pepper is what gives a Louisiana remoulade its distinct color
    Any oysters are good for frying, but gulf coast blue point oysters seem to have the best flavor.  Unfortunately, because of the recent oil spill, gulf coast oysters are probably still on the iffy side.  Farm raised oysters or sustainable farmed wild oysters from good clean ocean water is always the best choice.
     Poor boy bread is a French style baguette that has a thin crust and a soft pith.  Tough chewy crusty baguette bread is better for serving with cheese.  Cuban style baguettes have the right kind of texture for a poor boy sandwich.  Cuban bread is made with a milk enriched French baguette dough.  A butter and milk enriched white bread baguette that has a thin crust is also a good choice.  I made a nice batch of Butter Bread dough for today's Po' Boy Sandwich and a few other recipes.  Butter Bread makes this sandwich look like the great Po' Boys from long ago.

     Butter Bread:    
     This small batch recipe yields enough dough to make 1 large hamburger roll, 4 double knot dinner rolls and a foot long hoagie roll.
     This recipe is written for a mixer with a dough hook.  
     Place 1 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of milk.
     Gently heat the liquid to 112º.
     Place the liquid in a mixer bowl.  
     Add 2 tablespoons of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast.
     Place the mixing bowl in a lukewarm place like on a towel on top of a warm oven.
     Wait for the yeast to activate. 
     Add about 1 1/2 cups of flour.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 whisked large egg.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter. 
     Place the mixer bowl on the mixer and attach a dough hook.
     At low speed, mix till a very loose wet dough is formed.
     Start adding a little bit of flour at a time, till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. 
     You will be able to see when the dough is starting to get elastic.  It will stick to the hook and bowl.
     Add just enough flour, so the dough starts to look like it can start to gather on the dough hook.
     Allow the dough to mix and knead at a low speed for about 5 minutes.  By now the dough should be gathering on the hook.
     Remove the mixer bowl from the mixer and remove the dough hook.
     Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a dry towel. 
     Set the bowl on top of a warm oven, with a second towel underneath the bowl to protect the dough from too much heat. 
     When the dough rises more than double, beat it down with your knuckles.
     Place the dough on a lightly floured counter top.

     Roll the dough into a large ball. 
     Cut the dough ball into 3 equal size portions.  (Each portion is enough for 1 foot long hoagie roll.)
     Roll and tuck each dough portion with your hands to make 12" long sub roll shapes.
     Place each sub roll dough shape on a parchment paper lined pan.  Space the rolls so they will not touch each other after proofing!
     Use a razor sharp knife to bias cut shallow steam slashes on each roll.
     Gently brush each dough shape with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the pans and dough in a warm area.
     Allow the dough to rise to 1 1/2 times its original size.  (This only takes a few minutes, because the dough is still very active.) 

     Bake in a 425º till the bread becomes a golden brown color.  

     If the bread is for later use, then reheat the bread before serving.

     Louisiana Remoulade:
     This recipe makes enough rémoulade for a foot long Po' Boy!  This Louisiana rémoulade version is a little bit different than some of the other Louisiana rémoulade recipes that I have posted in the past.   
     Place 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of organic catsup.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced gherkin dill pickle.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
     Add 1 teaspoon of creole mustard or dijon mustard.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 2 teaspoons of dried French Herbs de Provence.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of paprika.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the sauce before serving.

     Po' Boy Sandwich Set Up:
     It is best the have the bread ready, so the pan fried oysters can be placed directly on the sandwich when they are done frying. 
     Trim the ends off of 1 foot long butter bread hoagie roll and split the roll open.
     Spread a thin layer of the Rémoulade Louisiane on the bread.  Place any extra rémoulade in a small ramekin.
     Place some mixed baby lettuce leaves on the bread.
     Set the bread set up aside.

     Pan Fried Oysters:       
     This recipes makes enough pan fried oysters for a foot long Po' Boy.
     Heat enough vegetable frying oil in a cast iron skillet to fry a few oysters with.  The oil should be about 3/4" to 1" deep.  Heat the oil to 360º.
     Season 2 cups of breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl with sea salt, black pepper and a few pinches of cayenne pepper.  (The amount of cayenne pepper is personal choice.)
     Dredge 8 ounces of large shucked oysters in flour.
     Dip the floured oysters in egg wash.
     Dredge the oysters, one at a time, in the breading mixture.
     Place each breaded oysters in the hot oil.
     Pan fry the oysters on both sides, till the oysters become fully cooked and light brown highlights appear on the breading.
     Note:  Oysters are tender and moist, so do not disturb the oysters while they pan fry, or the breading will break loose.  When the bottom side becomes golden brown, carefully flip the oyster over and finish frying the oyster.  Oysters cook quickly, so when the bread crumbs turn golden brown, they are ready.
     Pan Fried Oyster Po' Boy with Louisiana Remoulade:
     Use tongs or a small fryer net to pick the pan fried oysters out of the hot oil and place them directly on the prepared hoagie roll.  (The less pan fried oysters are handled the better!)
     Place the Pan Fried Oyster Po' Boy with Rémoulade Louisiane on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs and dill pickle spears.
     Place a small ramekin of Rémoulade Louisiane on the plate.
     This Pan Fried Oyster Po' Boy has a good old fashioned look.  This Po' Boy is also an old fashioned big portion size.  To do a Louisiana Pan Fried Oyster Po' Boy right, you got to go all the way!  Hooo Dawgy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Canadian Back Bacon Maple Coffee ~ A Great White North Café Cocktail!

A nice hot coffee cocktail for chilly winter evening!

     Bacon is en vogue.  Bacon is a tradition and bacon is here to stay.  There are two kinds of bacon.  Pork Belly Bacon is fatty and it has a rich flavor.  Canadian Bacon is really Back Bacon that is made with a pig's back straps.  Back bacon is lean, mean and when it is pan fried crisp, it sure taste great with mayonnaise on white bread, especially when the outdoor temperatures are below zero.  
     Since bacon is at an all time high in popularity, liqueur distillers have jumped on the bacon band wagon.  Mama Walker's Maple Bacon Liqueur is a good example of a modern bacon liqueur that is done right.  This liqueur is sweet with maple flavor and it has a nice rich bacon flavor.  The flavor tastes something like pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.  Mama Walker's Maple Bacon Liqueur has an addictive flavor that makes this distilled product dangerously close to being breakfast in a bottle!   

     Canadian Back Bacon Maple Coffee:
     This recipe yielda an 8 ounce coffee cocktail serving!
     Pour 5 ounces of Colombian Coffee in an 8 ounce coffee cup.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of Canadian Whiskey.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of Mama Walker's Maple Bacon Liquor.
     Float 2 tablespoons of frothed milk or loosely whisked sweet cream on top of the coffee.  
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of cinnamon on the cream.

     This Canadian Back Bacon Maple Coffee is a great way to start a Saturday morning day off in the Great White North, eh!  This hot coffee cocktail a nice warmer upper after a long day of shoveling snow in the cold.  Bacon cocktails!  Yum!  ...  Shawna      

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rigatoni with Fire Roasted Tomato and Portobello Ragù

     Mushrooms are basically meat.  In many regions of the world, especially in Asia, vegetarians commonly refer to mushrooms as meat.  Wood ear mushrooms are a good example of this statement.  
     In today's Italian ragù recipe, Italian brown field mushrooms take the place of meat.   A petite soffritto is part of the stewed sauce, just like for a ragù that is made with pork or beef.  Fire roasted tomatoes are usually acidic tomatoes, so the soffritto also helps to "sweeten" the sauce.  
     Many Italians add a splash of red wine to meat sauces to raise the acidity.  This helps to tenderize the meat and the wine adds flavor.  A splash of red wine was added to this recipe just to create a bold flavor, because mushrooms need no help to become cooked tender.  Home made lard is usually used to make meat ragù, but olive oil can be substituted.  Olive oil is better for light stewed sauces like today's recipe.     
     Ragù can be made with no broth if the proportion of meat is high.  If a moderate amount of meat is in the sauce, then broth is usually added to increase the flavor.  Since mushrooms were used in todays recipe, the choice of broth is a matter of personal choice.  Either mushroom broth, vegetable broth, chicken broth or beef broth can be added to a mushroom ragù.
     The strict vegetarian readers of this recipe can easily figure out how to convert this recipe to their preference.  Dairy product tolerant vegetarian readers can add the cheese, but the the egg garnish can be omitted.  
     Poached egg are sometimes used to garnish pastas in Italy.  I once worked with a Northern Italian chef who garnished a few of his pasta specialties with a poached egg.  This chef knew plenty about nutrition, because every time that he garnished a pasta with a poached egg, he pointed to his own eyes.  Eggs provide lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to protect the eyes from macular degeneration.  The Northern Italian chef wore thick eye glasses, so there was more to the poached egg garnish than what meets the eye.  

     Fire Roasted Tomato and Portobello Ragù:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 pasta entree!
     Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of olive oil.
     Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic.
     Saute till the garlic becomes a golden color.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of brunoise diced onion.  (Brunoise = 1/8"x1/8"x1/8")
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of brunoise diced carrot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of brunoise diced celery.
     Briefly saute, till the onions just start to turn clear in color.
     Add 1/4 cup of small chopped portobello mushrooms.
     Add 1/3 cup of portobello mushroom half slices.  (Cut a small portobello in half and then slice.)
     Saute till the mushrooms become tender.
     Add 1 ounce of dry red wine.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of vegetable broth.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of canned crushed fire roasted tomatoes.
     Add 1 pinch of ground sage.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of whole fennel seed.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce become a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.
     Add 2 pinches of minced Italian parsley.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.

     Rigatoni with Fire Roasted Tomato and Portobello Ragù:
     Cook 1 portion of Rigatoni Pasta in boiling water over high heat, till it is al dente.
     Just before the pasta finishes cooking, poach 1 egg in gently boiling shallow salted water, in a saute pan, so the yolk remains a bright color.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Place the pasta in a mixing bowl.
     Add enough of the Fire Roasted Tomato and Portobello Ragù to generously coat the pasta and gently toss the ingredients together.
     Mound the pasta in a large pasta bowl.
     Sprinkle some minced Italian parsley over the pasta. 
     Sprinkle a few generous pinches of finely grated parmesan cheese over the pasta.
     Garnish with a sprig of Italian parsley.
     Use a slotted spoon to place the poached egg on to of the pasta.  (Trim the loose egg while flash if necessary, so the egg looks nice.)

     This pasta actually is heartier than it seems to be.  The mushrooms create a rich satisfying flavor that sticks to the ribs.  Yum!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna