Friday, June 19, 2015

Pan Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Creole Choron

     Classic New Orleans Style Soft Shell Crab! 
     Choron sauce is a tomato flavored hollandaise sauce.  Many chefs claim that Choron is a tomato flavored bearnaise sauce, but that is just a matter of opinion.  By classic definition, Choron is a plain simple tomato flavored hollandaise.  
     Louisiana is famous for locally grown Creole Tomatoes.  The Mississippi River basin dark top soil is perfect for growing the richest tasting, juiciest, deep red color tomatoes in the world.  Creole Tomatoes are used extensively by Louisiana chefs.  This breed of tomato is rarely marketed outside of Louisiana, because they are harvested when they become fully ripe.  Ripe tomatoes do not ship well.  Creole Tomatoes make the the best tasting creole sauces.   
     Creole Choron Sauce is a Hollandaise Sauce that is flavored with Creole Sauce.  There is a trick involved with combining the two sauces.  The Creole Sauce must be reduced till all of the excess liquid evaporates, before adding it to the hollandaise sauce.  Refer to the dense looking fully reduced Creole Sauce in the photograph above, to see the necessary consistency.
     Creole Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 2 3/4 cups!
     The Trinity in Louisiana cooking is 1 part celery, 1 part bell pepper and 2 parts onion.  The classic Trinity is used in several Louisiana recipes.
     For Creole Sauce, the tomatoes do not need to be peeled or seeded.  
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of pomace olive oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic.
     Sauté till the garlic turns a light golden color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of small diced celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of small diced mixed green and red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 cup of small chopped onion. 
     Sauté the ingredients, till they start to become tender. 
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped ripe red tomatoes. 
     Add 1/4 cup of tomato juice.  
     Add 2 chopped green onions.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 3/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 cup of rich shrimp stock.
     Step 4:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of thyme leaves.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of marjoram.
     Add 2 pinches of tarragon.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Step 6:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. 
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce is a medium thin tomato sauce consistency.
     Step 7:  Set the creole sauce aside to cool.
     Chill the sauce and reheat the sauce as needed.
     Creole Sauce Reduction:
     This recipe yields 3 tablespoons.  (Enough for about 1/2 cup of Creole Hollandaise sauce.)
     Heat a small sauté pan over low heat.
     Add 1/3 cup of creole sauce.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till there is no visible excess liquid and the sauce is very thick.  (Refer to the picture of the creole sauce reduction above.)
     Keep the creole sauce reduction warm on a stove top.

     Cook 1/2 cup of long grain rice.
     Seasoned and flavor the rice with herbs of your choice or just serve the rice plain.
     Keep the rice warm on a stove top.

     Modified Classic Hollandaise:
     This recipe yields 4 to 6 portions of sauce, depending on the application!
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.    

     Creole Choron Sauce:
     Place 1/3 cup of the hollandaise sauce in a ceramic container.
     Add 3 tablespoons of creole sauce reduction while stirring.
     Place the ceramic container in a 120ºF bain marie.
     Stir occasionally.
     Serve the Creole Choron within 45 minutes, so the threat of pathogen contamination is minimized. 

     Pan Fried Soft Shell Crabs: 
     This recipe yield 1 entrée of 3 medium size soft shell crab. 
     • Soft Shell Crabs must be handled gently, or the legs and claws will fall off!  
     • The entire soft shell crab can be eaten, including the soft shell.  
     • Soft shell crab is usually sold uncooked and frozen.  If you see soft shell crab being sold as fresh in a market, then it was simply thawed so it could be dubiously sold for a higher price.  It is best to purchase the soft shell crab frozen and thaw it out yourself!
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of flour in a mixing bowl.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together and set it aside.
     Step 2:  Place 2 large eggs in a second mixing bowl.
     Whisk the eggs till they are blended.
     Set the egg wash aside.
     Step 3:  Place 2 cups of plain fine French bread crumbs in a third mixing bowl and set it aside.  
     Step 4:  Heat a wide cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add enough vegetable frying oil, so the oil is about 1/2" deep.
     Adjust the temperature, so the oil is 360ºF.
     Step 5:  *Be sure to gently bread the 3 soft shell crabs one at a time, to avoid damaging the crabs!  If any legs or claws fall off, bread them and fry them anyway.  
     Dredge each soft shell crab in the seasoned flour.
     Dip each crab in egg wash.
     Dredge each crab in plain French fine bread crumbs.
     Place each breaded soft shell crab in the hot oil.
     Pan fry the crabs, till are fully cooked and crispy golden brown on both sides.  (Use tongs to flip the crabs.  A probe thermometer should read 145ºF to 155ºF in the center when the crabs are fully cooked.)
     Step 6:  Place the fried soft shell crabs on a wire screen roasting rack on a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the pan fried soft shell crabs warm on a stove top.

     Pan Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Creole Choron:
     Mound a portion of rice on the back center of a large plate.
     Arrange the soft shell crabs on the plate, so they lean against the rice.
     Place a ramekin of Creole Choron Sauce on the plate.
     Garnish with Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Sprinkle very thin sliced green onion tops over the plate and creole choron sauce.
     *The creole choron was poured over the soft shell crabs in the photos above, so it could be seen.  With few exceptions, fried food should never be sauced before it is served! 

     This classic soft shell crab entrée is hard to beat!

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