Category Archives: Recipes

Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

Shrimp and Eggplant are a perfect flavor match in this traditional Creole Italian dish, neither trying to overpower the other, just existing in perfect harmony, kind of like Oysters and artichokes, and Okra and Tomatoes.

Besides the Muffuletta, you don’t hear as much about the Italian and Sicilian immigrant contribution to Creole Cuisine as you do the French influence, this is just one.

By the way, there is a great little book from Pelican Publishing in Gretna called The New Orleans Italian Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from the Italian American Society of Jefferson Auxillary. It was first published in 1979, it features recipes from a lot of different people, from Chefs to homecooks, a great little book.

Back to the dish, it’s important to use small eggplant, because they have very few seeds, it’s just less headache. Also, you could alternately boil the eggplants whole, scoop out the pulp and save the shells to bake your dressing in, if you’re into that sort of thing.

As far as the shrimp, I only use wild caught American shrimp these days, if I can’t get American, I don’t eat Shrimp. True, they are more expensive than the flavorless Southeast Asian farm raised stuff out there, and harder to find for that matter, but they taste a whole lot better; and more importantly, purchasing them supports our own Shrimp fisherman who are absolutely suffering these days.

Anyway, back to the recipe, it’s hard to cook when you’re standing on top of a soapbox. 😉

I served this as a side to a big plate of Fried Chicken, Green Onion mashed Potatoes, and Cornbread.

Shrimp and Eggplant Dressing Recipe

1 lb Wild Caught American Gulf Shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (Reserve the shells)
1 Bay leaf
1 bundle Fresh Thyme, tied with butchers twine
Water, enough to cover the eggplant by 1 inch
1 splash Liquid Crab Boil
4-5 small Eggplant, peeled, enough to yield about 2 1/2-3 Cups Cooked
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Large Spanish Onion, finely diced
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
4 Toes Garlic, minced
2 Green Onions, sliced thin, keep the green and white parts seperate
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Bread Crumbs (preferably homemade from leftover French bread)

For the topping:

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup grated Parmeggiano, and Pecorino Romano
3 Tbsp Melted Butter
1 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
A pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring the water to boil in a Dutch Oven. Add the Bay Leaf, bundled Thyme, reserved Shrimp shells, crab boil, any trim from the diced onion, and a handful of Kosher salt. Boil for about 15-20 minutes, skim off the scum from the shrimp shells. Add the Eggplant and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, melt the 3 Tbsp butter in a saute pan. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt, saute until the onions are translucent, add the chopped Thyme and the chopped shrimp, cook until the shrimp are just cooked through; set aside to cool.

When the eggplant is very tender remove with tongs to a colainder to cool. When cool, squeeze some of the liquid from it and chop.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, onion & pepper mixture, egg, fresh basil, and parsley, mix ingredients together well. Add the bread crumbs a little at a time until the right consistency is achieved; it should be not too wet, not too dry. Check the seasoning; season to taste with Kosher salt, Cayenne, and black pepper.

Add the mixture to a buttered gratin or baking dish. Mix together the topping ingredients, top the shrimp and eggplant dressing with it. Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and the topping is a nice golden brown.

Makes enough for a side dish for 4.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Muffuletta Recipe
Shrimp Stuffed Mirlitons
Creole Stuffed Peppers
Creole Smothered Okra & Tomatoes Recipe

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Shrimp Creole Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

To be quite honest, there are certain dishes that I never intended to include on this site because they have been so completely bastardized by restaurants across the country. Shrimp Creole is near the top of the list. Why would I want to include this dish? Everyone has a recipe for it. A lot of restaurants, even outside of Louisiana serve it. Why in the hell do I even want to bother? Everyone knows what Shrimp Creole is!

But then it dawned on me. You know what? Maybe because of all the hack versions out there, a lot of people, especially outside of Louisiana, don’t know how great Shrimp Creole can be! Every bad rendition of Shrimp Creole, just like Shrimp Etouffee, served in some dive restaurants across the country, have created a perception to the diner that this dish is just OK, or in the worst case scenario, absolutely horrible. For God’s sake, some restaurants even serve shrimp covered in canned Marinara sauce and pass it off as Shrimp Creole. Yikes.

There are a lot of good and bad recipes for Shrimp Creole out there, hopefully you will enjoy this one as much as I do. The defining factor that I think makes this dish great, instead of just good, in addition to the use of the highest quality Louisiana or Gulf Shrimp, is using homemade Shrimp Stock in place of water during the preparation of your Creole Sauce.

All that aside, on to the dish…

As I see it, Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Sauce Piquant are pretty much the same dish, with a few differences.

First, Shrimp Creole, or as it was once known, Shrimp a la Creole, is a New Orleans dish. Shrimp Sauce Piquant is Acadian, much spicier (hence the name) and usually, but not always containing a roux. But as I said, they’re pretty darned similar, and like most dishes in New Orleans these days the two cuisines have kind of merged in a lot of different areas. Like any dish that there are a trillion recipes for, it’s all a matter of your personal taste.

Like I always say, let’s not fight, it’s only dinner after all, just make sure it tastes good.

The Recipe:

Shrimp Creole Recipe

2 lbs. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
1 small Green Pepper, finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cups Shrimp Stock (recipe here)
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
Cayenne to taste
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt to taste
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
2 Tbsp Tabasco
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
1/8 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown. Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, then add the fresh tomatoes and another healthy pinch of Kosher salt, this will help the tomatoes break down. Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, and turn the heat to high until most of the alcohol burns off. Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and Thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

(If necessary at this point thicken the sauce with 1 Tbsp Cornstarch/ 2Tbsp water. Bring to a boil to maximize the thickening power of the cornstarch.)

Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Last chance to re-season your sauce, remember that good cooking is all about proper seasoning. Make your Boiled Rice, and season your shrimp with 1 Tbsp Kosher salt and a pinch of Cayenne.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp. The key is to not overcook your shrimp. Let them slowly simmer in the sauce until just cooked through.

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Shrimp Etouffee Recipe
Shrimp Stock Recipe
Shrimp Remoulade Recipe

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Shrimp Stock Recipe

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From Nola Cuisine

Chefs and cookbook authors alike sound like broken records when discussing stocks, “…there is no substitute for a well made stock.” But hey, it’s true. There really is no substitute for a well made stock. But can you use that stuff on the grocery store shelves, (which they have the gall to label “stock”), in a pinch? Of course. I use them from time to time myself when I’m out of the real deal, but the results are never, ever as good as homemade.

Stocks add not only a richness of flavor but also of texture when it comes to Chicken and Beef Stock. When chicken or beef stock are made well, that is, slowly cooked over a low flame for hours, they are gelatinous and rich. So rich in fact that when cooled they are the texture of Jello, let’s see Kitchen Basics or Emeril’s brand hold a candle to that. But they do take a lot of time, which brings me to why I love Shrimp Stock, because it takes no time at all, an hour tops.

I always buy shell on shrimp. Why? For the same reason I buy bone in cuts of meat. Stock. The amount of shrimp you’re using for this recipe will produce enough Shrimp Stock for the shrimp recipes calling for it on this site, plus some extra to freeze for later use. Shrimp stock only needs to cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, once you reach the simmering point.

Shrimp Stock Recipe

The Shells and tails from 2 lb. of Shrimp
1/2 Cup chopped Onion
1/4 Cup chopped Celery
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Lemon sliced
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 tsp. Black Peppercorns

Add all ingredients to a dutch oven or a moderate sized stock pot. Cover this with cold water, it should be about 6-8 Cups Cups. Bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or chinois.

Stock freezes very well. I always break it up into one use batches by putting it into those plastic ziploc containers. Just remember to leave about 1 inch of headroom as it will expand when it freezes.

Be sure and check out my ever growing, Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which features links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Beef Stock
Shrimp Etouffee Recipe
Shrimp Creole Recipe

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Pan Fried Pomfret with Meuniere Butter

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From Nola Cuisine

When we returned home from our recent trip to New Orleans I couldn’t get Galatoire’s out of my head, especially the Pompano with Crabmeat Yvonne, although the whole meal was very memorable. By the way, the Galatoire’s Cookbook is phenomenal, an absolute keeper. Their Meuniere Butter is to die for with crabmeat and especially with crabmeat and Pompano, so I decided to search for some Pompano, which I find only very rarely from one source here in Michigan. He didn’t have it but suggested that I try something similar, Pomfret.

Pomfret, or Butterfish, are in the same family as Pompano, in fact they look like a little Pompano, but you cook them whole; my fish guy suggested Pan Frying, which is what I did, topped with Galatoire’s Style Meuniere Butter (recipe below). A great guy with a great suggestion.

I also served these with Brabant Potatoes, another excellent part of our meal at Galatoire’s.

The Pomfret were super fresh and delicious, although not quite Pompano, lacking the sweetness by a bit, but very similar in flavor and texture, while in shrinky-dink size.

I cut the heads off for the sake of my wife, who like most Americans, is squeamish about making eye contact with her dinner. I personally like to be able to give my dinner a wink if it tastes good, or the unforgivable Stink Eye if I didn’t care for how it tasted, that’s just me.

Here is the recipe:

Pan Fried Pomfret with Galatoire’s Style Meuniere Butter

2 Pomfret per person, heads removed if you have squeamish guests
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil for pan-frying
1 Recipe Galatoire’s Style Meuniere Butter (recipe below)
Lemon Wedges
Chopped Italian Parsley for garnish

Combine the flour, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a bowl. Dredge the prepared Pomfret in the seasoned flour and set aside for 15-20 minutes.

In a large Cast Iron Skillet add about 1/2 an inch of oil to the pan, heat over medium flame until a sprinkle of flour flares up and starts to brown.

Add the floured Pomfret to the pan, in batches if necessary, so as to not overcrowd the pan. Pan-fry until golden brown on each side and cooked through.

Serve on a platter with lemon wedges, and top with the Meuniere Butter (recipe below), garnish with chopped Italian parsley. The flesh flakes away easily from the bones when eating, just use your fork to gently flake it away.

Galatoire’s Style Meuniere Butter Recipe

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Kosher Salt (or use Salted Butter and omit the salt)
1 & 1/2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 & 1/2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
Large Sauce Pan (make sure that your pan is large enough, as the sauce will flare up when you add the liquids to the hot butter)

In a large sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the salt (if using unsalted butter). Cook the butter, stirring frequently, until the fat is a nice golden brown and the solids just start to brown. Along the way the butter will go through a lot of changes, foaming, etc. When the butter reaches the appropriate color remove from the heat, stand back and very carefully add the juice and vinegar. **WARNING** it will flare up quite violently so make sure you are using a big enough pan! Pour a genourous portion of the Meuniere Butter over the fish, be sure to give it a stir as the dark brown solids contain a lot of the flavor.

Related Posts:

Our Dinner at Galatoire’s
Redfish Courtbouillon
Fried Catfish with Hush Puppies and Creole Tartar Sauce

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

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Muffuletta

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I received an email from Kristen Browning-Blas, food editor for The Denver Post, the other day asking permission to use my Muffuletta recipe at the Denver Post website, I said of course. Here is the article about Serio’s Po-Boys & Deli.

As I browsed through the pics and recipes I realized I needed to have a Muffuletta as soon as possible, so Anna and I headed over to Ventimiglia’s Italian Market, here in the Detroit area, to gather the necessary ingredients.

But of course, as I’ve mentioned in the past, Muffuletta Bread is not to be found here in the Detroit area, so that had to be made as well.

I used my Muffuletta Bread recipe, Olive Salad recipe , my Muffuletta sandwich recipe, which I altered slightly by doubling the amount of meat and cheese, I figured what the hell, I’m going to all of this trouble, why not go the full 9.

By the way for a great Italian Market in the Detroit area check out:

Ventimiglia’s Italian Foods
35197 Dodge Park
Sterling Heights, MI 48312

Related Posts:

Be sure and check out Jason Perlow’s post on The Muffuletta at Off the Broiler!

Muffuletta Bread recipe
Muffuletta Sandwich Recipe
Muffuletta Olive Salad Recipe
Shrimp Po’ Boy Recipe
Roast Beef Po Boy Recipe

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Grillades and Grits

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I’ve posted on Grillades & Grits a few times in the past, it’s one of my favorite comfort meals, usually for Sunday dinner, although it’s great for breakfast as well. I didn’t follow a recipe for this meal, but I used the same basic procedures as this recipe, although I used chicken stock in place of the beef stock.

Here are some related posts:

Grillades & Grits Recipe
Grillades with Andouille Cheese Grit Cakes
Osso Bucco with Toasted Orzo “Risotto”

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which features links to all of the recipes on this site!

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Oysters Roffignac Recipe

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! This is just one of the appetizers I served up this holiday season, more to come.

Oysters Roffignac is said to be one of the first baked Oyster dishes out of New Orleans, originally served at Roffignac’s Restaurant which was around, I believe, up until the Civil War.
I can’t find much information about this restaurant, but it is said to have been owned by the family of Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, Mayor of New Orleans from 1820-1828 who first introduced street lighting to New Orleans and is also the namesake for the Roffignac cocktail.

At first glance this recipe sounds strange. Oysters with Red wine? But the flavors meld very well. It is very similar to my favorite baked Oyster dish, Oysters Bienville, but with a touch of Spanish flavors.

Oysters Roffignac Recipe

1 Dozen Oysters, shucked and left on the half shell, drain off the liquor and reserve
1/2 lb. Gulf Shrimp (seasoned with salt & pepper and sauteed with a little unsalted butter, then chopped)
1/2 stick Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Flour
3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
4 Mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/8 Cup Dry Red Wine
Reserved Oyster Liquor
Salt to taste (remember to consider the salt content of your Oysters)
Rock Salt for presentation and baking only.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan then whisk in the flour. Cook stirring often for about 5 minutes to make a blonde roux.

Add the green onions, mushrooms, garlic, paprika and Cayenne, cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Add the lemon juice, reserved Oyster liquor, and red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cook until the alcohol burns off from the red wine, and the raw flour flavor from the roux is no longer present. Stir in the chopped Shrimp and season to taste with kosher salt.

Place the rock salt on a baking sheet and arranged the shucked Oysters on the salt. Bake for about 5 minutes or until the Oysters just start to warm through.

Remove and top each Oyster with a generous helping of the sauce. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 1.

Related Recipes:

Angels on Horseback
Drago’s style Charbroiled Oysters
Oysters Bienville
Oysters on the half shell
Oyster Omelette
Oyster Dressing

Be sure and also check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which features all of the recipes on this site!

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Spanish Paella Recipe

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Something I have been wanting to do on this site is explore the roots of some of the Louisiana dishes that are now so well known. I love to explore the evolution of cooking styles, regional cuisines, and regional dishes, in this case Jambalaya.

It is hard to deny that Jambalaya has roots in the Spanish Paella, which was probably introduced sometime during the four decades in which Spain held possession of Louisiana during the late Eighteenth century.

The key to making this Paella is good quality short grain rice, real Saffron, and good homemade chicken stock. I also used Spanish Chorizo which is a cured pork sausage made with garlic and paprika. I have a really good Spanish Chorizo recipe which I will share here in the very near future.

Here is the recipe:

Spanish Paella Recipe

Chicken Pieces, I used about 2 lbs of drumettes, seasoned liberally with salt & black pepper
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Green Pepper, diced
1/2 Large Spanish Onion, diced
1/2 lb good Spanish Chorizo, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 Roasted Red Peppers, diced (homemade are best; see below)
1 healthy pinch Saffron threads, the real stuff no substitutes
1 1/2 Cups Valencia Rice or Arborio Rice
1/4 Cup White Wine
2 1/4 Cups Rich Chicken Stock
A few turns of Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Parsley

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

In a Paella pan or large cast-iron skillet as I used, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until almost smoking, brown the seasoned chicken on all sides until golden brown. Remove to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, bell pepper, and Chorizo. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and saffron, cook for 8 minutes more, stirring often.

Add the rice and stir in. Cook the mixture until the rice is pearly opaque and has absorbed some of the liquid that has collected from the vegetables. Add the white wine and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock, season it to taste with salt and black pepper, arrange the chicken pieces around the pan, submerging. Bring to a boil then place in the preheated oven, uncovered for about 15-20 minutes. When the rice is still a bit crunchy, remove the pan from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and let stand for about 10-15 minutes to finish cooking.

Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 3-4.

For the Homemade Roasted Red Peppers:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Wipe your Red Peppers with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Place in a pan and put into the oven for about 45 minutes, turn once. Remove from the oven to a new dish, cover with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes, this will help the skin pull away from the flesh.

Remove all of the skin and seeds. Cool.

My resource for Spanish Cuisine has always been the books of Penelope Casas, in particular, The Foods and Wines of Spain by Peneolpe Casas.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

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Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Creole Choron Sauce

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My favorite way to serve Soft-Shell Crabs is with Creole Choron Sauce. Actually, this sauce is wonderful with just about any fried seafood.

The most popular way Soft-Shells are prepared in Louisiana is fried, and for good reason, they’re damned good that way. Make sure that your batter is not too thick because the crabs will never get crispy, your batter should be like a thin pancake batter.

Here is the recipe:

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Creole Choron Sauce

Peanut Oil for frying
4 – Soft-Shell Crabs, cleaned
1 Recipe Creole Choron Sauce
Lemon wedges
Hot sauce

For the batter:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Corn Flour
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
Buttermilk, enough to make a batter the consistency of a thin pancake batter.

Combine the dry ingredients, whisk in the buttermilk.

For the seasoned flour:

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Cayenne

Combine all ingredients.

To fry the Soft-Shells:

Heat the peanut oil to 360 degrees F in a Dutch oven. The Dutch oven should be large enough to have the oil about 3-4 inches deep and halfway up the sides of the pot.

When the oil is hot dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, then dipping into the batter. Be sure to completely coat the crabs and let any excess drip off.
Carefully place the crabs into the oil upside down (this will make the claws stand up a bit for presentation.). Fry only two at a time maximum until they are golden brown and they float to the surface.
Be sure to let the oil come back to temperature before frying the next batch.

Drain on paper towels and season with Kosher salt.

Caution – Soft-shells have a tendency to spit hot oil, or pop when the inside liquids heat up, so be careful.

Serve the crabs on a plate covered with the Creole Choron Sauce and with lemon wedges and hot sauce on the table.

Serves 2.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all recipes featured on this site!

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Creole Choron Sauce Recipe

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This is my favorite sauce to serve with Fried Soft-Shell Crabs, or any fried seafood for that matter. It’s nothing more than equal parts of Creole Sauce and Hollandaise. Here is the recipe with links to my recipes for both sauces:

Creole Choron Sauce Recipe

1 Cup Hollandaise Sauce
1 Cup Creole Sauce – Dice the vegetables instead of Julienne as the recip indicates.

Whisk together both ingredients. Keep warm in a small bowl sitting in hot water.

Makes 2 Cups.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured on this site.

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