Whether cooking a meal at home or prepping a multi-course feast for hundreds of event guests, the importance of high quality ingredients is a constant. Every bite reveals either a corner cut or an investment made in a fresh, flavorful ingredient.
This is particularly true when it comes to seafood. The quality difference between domestic seafood and imported is drastic—the flavor is incomparable, and much of the imported seafood that Americans consume is farm-raised and contains unregulated antibiotics. Domestic seafood, however, is responsibly raised and free of the contaminants often found in imported seafood.
Among U.S. options, Louisiana seafood is unparalleled. The shrimp, crabs, oysters, fish, and more that come from Louisiana are the highest quality available, offering caterers a year-round, high-quality option when it comes to seafood preparation.
Speaking of which, there are limitless ways to prepare this bountiful seafood. The recipes you’ll find on LouisianaSeafood.com were contributed by top chefs, and they showcase just a handful of the innovative ways that Louisiana seafood can work in crowd-thrilling dishes. They’re just the thing that can set your catering menu apart and deliver something truly special to your clients, and it’s easy to find a supplier.
The recipe below is from chefs Cody and Samantha Carroll, winners of the 2013 Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off and head chefs at Sac-A-Lait in New Orleans and Hot Tails in New Roads, LA.
By Chefs Cody and Samantha Carroll, Courtesy of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture
Cooking/Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon sweet relish
⅛ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup Louisiana lump crab
Marinated Cucumber (recipe follows)
Squid Ink Saltines (recipe follows)
Tabasco Sabayon (recipe follows)
1. Place eggs in a saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1½ inches. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.
2. Crack eggshells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks to a medium bowl, and place whites in a separate bowl.
3. Chop or mash egg whites to match size of crabmeat. Mash yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salt, and pepper and mix well; gently fold in egg whites.
To serve, divide egg mixture among 4 plates. Top with crab, marinated cucumber, and a dollop of Tabasco Sabayon; serve with Squid Ink Saltines on the side.
¼ cup red onion
1 tsp salt
¼ cup vinegar
¾ cup water
3 T sugar
1 dash pepper
1. Dice cucumbers to ⅛-inch dice (brunoise); slice onions very thin. Place cucumber and onion in a bowl and sprinkle with salt; let stand for an hour.
2. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and pepper in a bowl; refrigerate while onions and cucumbers are steeping.
3. After an hour, transfer cucumbers, onions, and any accumulated liquid into the vinegar mixture, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
Cuttlefish Ink Saltines
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup shortening
1 oz cuttlefish ink
1⅓ cups milk
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Combine flour and baking powder, and then cut in shortening. Mix milk and cuttlefish ink; add to flour mixture and blend well.
3. Form dough into a ball and divide evenly into 4 sections.
4. Roll one section out very thin and even (about ⅛-inch thick), and, using a knife or a pastry wheel with crinkled edges, cut dough into strips about 1 inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Working in batches if necessary, place crackers on an ungreased cookie sheet and prick the dough with a fork several times; sprinkle with salt and paprika. Transfer to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until firm to the touch.
Makes 12 to 15 crackers.
Note: We use cuttlefish ink; you easily can find squid ink in gourmet food stores and via the Internet. It adds a salty seawater flavor and is popular in Spanish and Italian cooking, and is a fine substitute.
2 egg yolks
2 T sugar
2 oz Tabasco hot sauce
splash lemon juice
1. Place egg yolks and sugar in the top piece of a simmering double boiler; whisk continuously until mixture forms a ribbon when the whisk is pulled up, about 4 minutes.
2. Slowly whisk in Tabasco hot sauce and finish with lemon.
Makes about ½ cup.