Tuesday, November 17, 2015

We'll Always Have Paris - Crab Stuffed Zucchini with Pan Fried Oysters and Louisiana Remoulade Sauce

One of my favorite movies of all times is "Casablanca", and chances are that even if it is not among your favorites, you have seen it at least once.  Which would lead me to believe that, in the hours immediately following the terror attacks in Paris, perhaps hearing the French people singing "La Marseilles" your mind strayed inevitably to one of the best scenes in movie history:

"Casablanca" is a veritable treasure trove of memorable quotes (or misquotes - Bogart's character never says "Play it again, Sam") including these two - "Everybody goes to Rick's" (inside joke, sorry) and "We'll always have Paris."

Paris and France will survive these acts of terrorism, just as we Americans survived September 11th, but changed forever, and not in a good way. One thing France has done, which we failed to do, is to immediately and resoundingly attack the "capital" of ISIS.  I remember my frustration, the days immediately after 9/11, when our government failed to take immediate action against Al Qaeda and  Osama bin Ladin.  I am still bitter towards Bush 43 because of that, and once the golden moment for proper retribution had passed, he embroiled us in a questionable war which has gone on for 14 cursed years.  

This morning when I logged into Facebook, I found several more postings in which friends, and friends of friends, expressed concerns over the effects of this most recent terrorist attack upon presumably peaceful Muslims.  Some have compared ISIS to the Ku Klux Klan (seriously???), arguing that since our country did not turn against all Christians because of the despicable actions of the Klan, we should not generalize against Muslims. Sorry, but these situations are not remotely comparable. And as to the effect on the majority of followers of Islam, all I can say is they are going to have to try a lot harder to take back their religion. Sending a few imams to pay televised lip service to peaceful coexistence is not enough. Try treating your women as equals. Stop pushing Sharia law upon Western countries.

I really have to stop now.

Monday morning, and I awoke feeling better than I had for the last few weeks, but I remain cautious. There are just so many spoons, you know.  I had plans and glory be, they worked out.  I did head over to the office to visit and drop off the keys and some cookies.  I had such an enjoyable time, my only regret being that some of the folks were not there. But Terry and I had time for a good long chat and I got to see how Brian fixed up "my" office now that he moved in, and caught up with my former supervisor, and it was all good.  The Judge is apparently deep into her case with the Judicial Qualification Committee. Good. I would wish her well, but ... no wait, I wouldn't.

My right arm, my left arm, the head on my shoulders, and my dear friend

Da Boss

Some of the Girls in the 'Hood

I also prepared the remoulade and the pan fried oysters, and baked the stuffed zucchini, and it was all delicious.  That remoulade sauce is to die for, and can be used with so many other foods including boiled, chilled shrimp and (surprise!) Scotch eggs.

But before cooking, I took a little time to smell - no, to photograph - the flowers around my house.  The weather was perfect, the air was clear and even a touch cool. Barely.

Crab Stuffed Zucchini 

3 medium zucchini
1/2 pound claw crab meat
1 tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise 
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and inside pulp of zucchini using a melon ball scoop, leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch shell depending on size of zucchini. Discard the zucchini or use in another recipe (I included it in the next days pasta salad.)  Blanch the zucchini boats in salted boiling water for 2 minutes  Remove from the water, pat dry and place into an aluminum baking dish.

In a medium bowl, first toss the crab gently with the panko bread crumbs. Then add in the remaining ingredients, using a spatula to GENTLY combine everything.  Fill each zucchini with the crab mixture.  Avoid packing the filling into the zucchini boats.

You can cover and refrigerate the stuffed zucchini at this point.  When you are getting ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle some more of the panko bread crumbs, then bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the filling is heated through and the panko is lightly toasted.  Serve topped with one or two pan fried oysters and some of the remoulade.


Pan Fried Oysters

1 - 8 oz. container shucked Willapoint oysters (refrigerator case in seafood department)
2 eggs, beaten
1 - 6 oz. bag Goya cracker meal
1/2 tablespoon Emeril's Cajun seasoning
Canola oil for frying

Drain the oysters in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Combine the cracker meal and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic freezer bag.  Dip the oysters in the beaten egg, and then add to the cracker meal.  Set the oysters aside to dry for about 15 minutes.  Now do it all over again - dip in the remaining egg, then back into the cracker meal.  Put the double-breaded oysters into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set up.

Time to haul out your well-seasoned cast iron frying pan and heat about a quarter inch of oil over a medium-high setting. Fry the oysters in the hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until deep golden brown.  Drain on paper towel and serve immediately with lemon wedges and the sauce of your choice.

Louisiana Remoulade Sauce

This recipe is from the Serious Eats site, and it is so good it left me speechless.

1 cup of mayonnaise (Hellmann's)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon Louisiana style hot sauce (Crystal)
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard (Maille)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons capers, chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together.  Let sit for an hour before serving to let the flavors get friendly.  If you are not using it right away, cover and refrigerate.

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