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This Old Chef: Bonus Recipes

Tempura Lobster Tacos with Jerk-Spiced Sour Cream


(Serves 6 - 1 taco per person)


3, 5-6 oz. frozen lobster tails, defrosted, and carefully removed from shells

6 Large tortillas

Shredded cabbage or lettuce

½ C Sour cream

2 T Jerk sauce

3 Ripe Haas avocados

¾ C Chopped tomatoes

½ C Chopped scallions

6 Lime wedges plus juice of 1 lime

2 t Salt

1 C AP flour

2 t Baking powder

1- 1¼ C Cold seltzer

Oil for frying

  1. To make the batter:  Combine flour, salt, baking powder, seltzer, and 2 t jerk sauce. Whisk to combine. Set aside in refrigerator.
  2. Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep pot to 360°.
  3. To make the “guacamole”: Combine avocados, tomatoes, scallions, 1 t salt, and lime juice. Mash some of the avocado, but let it remain fairly chunky. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface to lessen darkening of the avocado. Set aside in refrigerator.
  4. Heat/soften tortillas in a dry skillet over medium high heat for approximately 30-45 seconds a side.
  5. Split each lobster tail lengthwise. Slice thick ends into ½ inch pieces. As you move to the thinner end, increase the size of pieces (so they all cook at similar rates.) Coat pieces in batter and fry in hot oil for 2 minutes. Don’t overcook. Remove to a rack to drain.
  6. To assemble tacos: On each tortilla, place some shredded cabbage or lettuce, top with a heaping T of guacamole, 4-5 pieces of lobster, and a T of jerk sour cream.
  7. Serve with a lime wedge, fold up and enjoy!







Pike Quenelles with Sauce Nantua

(Serves 6)


2 T oil

½ lb. Crawfish tails (defrosted if frozen)

8 T Unsalted butter

1 Medium shallot, chopped

½ t Tomato paste

2 T Cognac

1½ C Fish or shellfish stock

1 C Heavy cream

 lb. Skinless Pike fillet, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 t Salt

1 Large egg white

 t Pepper

4-6 Scrapes of nutmeg

  1. To make the crawfish butter:  In 1 T oil, cook crawfish for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Melt the butter.  In a food processor, blend still warm crawfish with melted butter until as smooth as possible.  Set aside.
  2. To make quenelles:  Process pike, egg white, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth. Slowly pour in very cold cream with the processor running.  Chill for at least 2 hours, and up to 1 day.
  3. To make the Sauce Nantua:  In a medium saucepan, sauté the shallot in remaining oil until soft but not browned.  Add tomato paste, and cook stirring for another minute.  Add cognac, and allow to reduce until almost dry.  Add fish stock, raise the heat and simmer until reduced to ¾ C.
  4. Remove from the heat and swirl in ½ C reserved crawfish butter.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing hard on the solids.  Pour cream mixture through the solids again to extract even more flavor.  Set aside.  This makes approximately 1 cup of VERY rich sauce.
  5. To shape the quenelles: Using 2 large soup spoons dipped in cold water, pass heaping spoons of mixture back and forth to create the traditional shape.  Place on waxed paper, or a lightly oiled sheet pan.  Chill for 10 minutes.
  6. Bring a wide pot of salted water to a simmer.  Carefully place quenelles in barely simmering water. Poach for 8 minutes.  Remove quenelles.  Reheat the sauce, and add quenelles. 2 per serving. Serve on warmed plates.  Add a bit more sauce on top.


Crawfish Étouffée

(Serves 6-8)


1 lb. Crawfish (defrosted if frozen)

8 T Unsalted butter

8 T AP flour

1 C Onion, diced fine (1 small onion)

2 Ribs celery, diced fine

1 C green pepper, diced fine

4 T minced garlic

1 C Fish or shellfish stock

1 C water

¾  C chopped parsley

4 shots Tabasco, or more to taste

½  t cayenne

½  t black pepper

2 t salt

4 chopped scallions (white and light green) for garnish

Cooked rice

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter, add flour and cook, whisking, until the color of peanut butter.  Add onion, celery, and pepper and cook on low until vegetables are softened (about 7 minutes).
  2. Add garlic, and cook another 3 minutes.  Add stock, water, parsley, Tabasco, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Combine.
  3. Add defrosted crawfish tails, cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste for salt, pepper, and Tabasco and adjust.
  4. Serve over rice, with scallions on top.


Crab-Stuffed Roasted Poblanos

(Serves 6)


6 Poblano peppers

½ lb. Crab meat

 C each:  Finely minced shallot, celery, and bell pepper (red, yellow, orange)

5 T Unsalted butter

1 t Lemon zest

½ t Salt

½ t Paprika

⅛ t Black pepper

2 T Mayonnaise

1 t Old Bay Seasoning

1 C Panko bread crumbs

  1. Over a gas flame, or under the broiler, roast Poblanos, turning frequently, until blackened and blistered all over. Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap for ½ hour. Remove blackened skin. Carefully make a slit in the front of the pepper and clean out all of the seeds. Set aside.
  2. In 1 T butter, sauté the vegetables on low for 4 minutes until softened but not colored. Set aside to cool.
  3. When vegetables are cool, combine with zest, salt, paprika, black pepper, and mayonnaise. Stuff each pepper with  C of the crab mixture.
  4. Melt remaining butter, and combine with the Old Bay and the Panko.
  5. Warm stuffed Poblanos in a 350° oven for 7 minutes. Remove from oven, turn on broiler, top stuffed Poblanos with Panko mixture and broil for 2 minutes or until crumbs are golden. Serve on warmed plates.


Catfish Sandwich with Dill Remoulade and Sliced Jalapeños

(Serves 8)


2 T Jerk spice 

1 C Mayonnaise

½ C Dill, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

¼ t minced habañero or scotch bonnet pepper (or more if you dare!)

8 ½ pound pieces of catfish

Oil for frying

1 C AP flour

1 t Salt

1 t Baking powder

Paper-thin slices of jalapeño peppers


8 Good-quality hamburger buns

  1. For the remoulade: combine mayonnaise, dill, lime juice and minced pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  2. For the batter: combine flour, salt, baking powder. Add beer until mixture is like thick pancake batter (approximately 1 C).  Set aside for at least ½ hour.
  3. Heat oil to 350°.
  4. Lightly dust catfish pieces with jerk spice.  Dip in batter.  Fry in batches for 3 minutes apiece, until golden brown. Transfer to a rack… not a paper towel!!
  5. Spread sauce on the bottom bun, add the fish, top with a dollop of sauce and a few slices of jalapeño.  Add the top bun and dig in!


Deviled Eggs

(Serves 6)

Prep time:  5 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes


1 Dozen hard-boiled eggs, peeled, split, yolks removed

C Low-fat yogurt, drained overnight

C Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

¼ tsp. salt           

1. In a bowl, mash the 12 yolks, and mix with remaining ingredients until as smooth as you like.

2. Neatly spoon mixture into the reserved 24 egg white halves.

Tip:  This is a great time to dig out that deviled egg platter you inherited from your grandmother.  I like to top each egg with a small sprig of fresh dill.  Or you can time travel to the '60s and sprinkle a tiny bit of sweet paprika on each.  If you’d rather not take the time to drain the yogurt, search out Greek-style yogurt in your store…  It’s a lot thicker than regular yogurt.  You can also substitute some mustard, or Tabasco, or another herb for the dill.


Hummus Deviled Eggs

(Makes 24 eggs)

Prep time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes


12 hard cooked eggs, split, yolks removed

 C Hummus

 C Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. capers, drained, rinsed, and chopped

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 roasted red bell pepper      

1. In a bowl, mash yolks with a fork until smooth.  Add hummus, mayonnaise, lemon juice, capers, and salt and stir until smooth.

2. Pipe or spoon mixture into egg white halves. Top with a thin slice of red pepper.

Tip:  A foolproof way to boil eggs:  Place eggs in a saucepan.  Cover with cold water to a depth of one inch.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let sit for 9 minutes.  Drain eggs and place in ice water.  Chill until cool enough to handle.  Peel.


Hummus Bar

(Serves 6)

Prep Time:  30 minutes


1 Large can (1 pound 13 ounces) chickpeas

1 Garlic clove, minced

½  C Tahini (well stirred)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

¾ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients, along with 7 tablespoons of water, and process until smooth.  This makes 3 cups of hummus.  Serve plain, or top with chopped, toasted pistachios and a drizzle of EVOO.

Tip: This basic hummus recipe can easily be varied:

In one variation, add 1½ C of hummus to 3 finely chopped scallions, ½ C finely minced celery, ¼ C chopped black olives, and ½ C chopped red pepper.

In another variation, omit the salt from the master recipe, and add 1 teaspoon Tamari or soy sauce, and ¾ teaspoon dark sesame oil.  Top with toasted white or black sesame seeds.

A third variation is to process 1½ C of the basic hummus with ¾ C cilantro until it’s all green.  If you’re a cilantro hater, you can certainly substitute parsley or even basil.

Set up the Hummus Bar with the basic recipe, the 3 variations, and, to dip, pita triangles and vegetables like green, red, orange and yellow peppers, celery, and leaves of endive.


Creamy Red Bean Dip

(Makes 4 Cups)

Prep time:  10 minutes

Cook time:  5 minutes


1 29 oz. can red beans, drained and rinsed

½ C Sour Cream

2 Tbsp. garlic (approximately 4 cloves) chopped

2 Tbsp. EVOO

1 tsp. Tabasco, or more to taste

½ tsp. Kosher salt

1 C chopped Scallions (white, light green, and some dark green parts)

1 tsp. lime juice              

1. Heat EVOO in a small pan over med heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.  Do not brown the garlic.

2. In a food processor, process the beans.  Add the garlic/EVOO mix, salt, lime juice, Tabasco, and ½ C scallions and process for 1 minute.

3. Place in serving bowl.  Top with remaining scallions.

4. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, crackers, or pita chips.



(Serves 6-8... or just me!)

This is my version… not totally traditional...

3-4 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut in similarly sized chunks

¼ to ½ Head green cabbage, cored and sliced thin

Salt and pepper

Heavy cream

Chives, minced or cut

1.  Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold, salted water, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat so that water remains at a high simmer, but not a high rolling boil. Cook until potatoes are done (soft but not falling apart).  Drain.

2.  At the same time, steam sliced cabbage until it starts to soften, but not until it gets mushy.

3.  Use a ricer or a food mill on the potatoes.  Begin to add warmed cream, slowly.  I realize I’ve given no amount on the cream... but it changes completely depending on the specific potatoes and your personal preference... just don’t put in so much cream that they get soupy.  You can always add a bit more.  And resist the temptation to whip the potatoes endlessly.  Taste for, and add, salt and pepper.

4. Fold in the cabbage and add chives.  Colcannon can also be made with shredded kale in place of the cabbage, and minced scallions in place of the chives.  Yukon Gold potatoes can be substituted, but the Russets give a much more “potato-y” taste.



Parsley Pesto

(Serves 4-6)

2 C Flat leaf parsley

½ C Basil leaves

½ C Toasted walnuts

1-2 T Chopped garlic

½-¾ C EVOO

½ C Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 lb. Pasta

Kosher salt


1.  In a food processor, or using a mortar and pestle, blend parsley leaves, basil leaves, walnuts (or any nut you prefer), and garlic.

2.  Drizzle in EVOO.

3.  In another bowl, fold in Parmesan cheese.  Taste for salt and pepper.

4.  In a pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook pasta to desired texture.  Drain, reserving 1C of the pasta water.

5.  Thin pesto with 3-4 T pasta water, toss with pasta.  If it seems too thick, thin with a bit more pasta water.  Serve sprinkled with more cheese if desired.



Shockingly Lemon Linguini


2 Shallots, chopped (or 2T)

¾ Low-sodium chicken stock

3 T Unsalted butter

Zest of ½ lemon

3 T Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 lb. Linguini

Grated Parmesan

1.  In 2 T good EVOO, sauté 2 chopped shallots on low heat.  Don’t brown.

2.  Add ¾ C good low-sodium chicken stock.  Raise the heat and reduce to approximately ½ C.

3.  While the stock reduces, cook the linguini in plenty of well-salted boiling water until almost done.

4. Add 3 T unsalted butter, the zest of ½ lemon, and 3 T finely chopped flat leaf parsley. Remove from the heat and allow butter to melt.

5.  Drain pasta, saving 1 C of cooking water.

6.  Add pasta to sauce to finish cooking.

7.  Turn off the heat, add the cheese and, if you want, a good squeeze or two of the lemon juice.



Garlic Scampi with Pasta

(Serves 4-6)

24 Shelled, deveined shrimp


1 t Red pepper flakes

2 Large garlic cloves, smashed but not chopped

½ t Kosher salt

2 T Finely minced garlic

2 T Evoo

⅓ C Dry white wine

Chopped parsley

2-3 T Unsalted butter

Toasted bread crumbs

1 lb. long pasta (spaghetti, etc.)

1.  In a bowl, marinate shrimp in EVOO, red pepper, salt and smashed garlic for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

2. In a small saucepan, “poach” minced garlic in EVOO for approximately 2 minutes.  Don’t let the garlic color.  Add wine, and continue to simmer.

3.  Drain EVOO from marinade into a large skillet.  You can add a bit more EVOO if skillet appears dry.  Heat skillet on medium.  Add shrimp in one layer.  Cook gently for approximately 1 minute, or until underside is just pink.  Turn each shrimp over.  Add reserved garlic sauce.

4.  Before cooking shrimp, cook pasta in boiling salted water to desired texture.  Drain, reserving 1 C pasta water.

5. Add parsley and butter to shrimp.  If you’re feeling wild, you can add another T of butter.  When the butter is just melted, toss shrimp with pasta.  If it appears dry, add 1-2 T pasta water. Top with breadcrumbs.  You can also add a bit more chopped parsley.



Sausage/Mushroom or Sausage/Rabe Pasta Sauce

1 lb. Hot Italian sausage 

10-12 oz. White button mushrooms or

1 Bunch broccoli rabe

2 Cloves garlic, minced



Chicken broth, if needed

1)  Sauté sausage meat until cooked.  Remove from pan.  Pour off fat, and add EVOO.  Add quartered mushroom caps and sauté until golden.  Remove from pan and add to sausage.  Add garlic to pan.  Sauté until fragrant.  Combine with sausage/mushroom mixture.


Sauté sausage meat until cooked.  Remove from pan.  Pour off fat and add EVOO.  Add rabe and sauté until almost tender.  Add garlic.  Sauté another minute or two.

2)  Toss with pasta.  If this seems too dry for your taste, add chicken broth.  Add cheese.

3)  If you want to go over the top, either of these works well with a little added cream!!



Mixed Herb Pasta Sauce

1 C Mixed fresh herbs, chopped (I use a combination of basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon…)


2 (or more) Cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste


1)  Heat EVOO in sauté pan. Add garlic and sauté for a moment until garlic is fragrant.  Just before tossing with pasta, add herbs, salt and pepper.

2)  Toss with pasta, adding pasta cooking water if necessary, and then add cheese. I use Parmesan or Grana Padano.



Sage and Prosciutto Pasta Sauce

10 Large fresh sage leaves, chopped

to ½ lb. Prosciutto, sliced or torn

2 (or more) Garlic cloves, minced


½ C (or more) Heavy cream

½ C Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste 

1)  In a sauté pan, heat EVOO, add garlic, sauté until garlic is fragrant.  Add sage.  Add cream.  If this seems way too rich for you, you can thin with a bit of chicken stock.

2)  Just before tossing with pasta, add prosciutto (you aren’t really cooking the prosciutto, just warming it) and cheese.



Basic Nut Pesto

1 C Walnuts, toasted (350° for approximately 10 minutes)

2 (or more) Cloves of garlic, chopped


Parsley (a good handful) or another herb if you prefer

Cheese (I use Parmesan, and I start with about ½ C)

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice

Process nuts, garlic, herbs, and EVOO... but not for too long... you don’t want a smooth paste. Add cheese. Taste.  Add salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste.

To serve on pasta, thin with a bit of pasta cooking water.



Basic Basil Pesto

2 C  Basil leaves


Garlic (as much as you like... but start with 2 medium cloves, remember it’s raw)

Cheese (again... up to you, but start with ½ cup Parmesan, Grana Padano, or Pecorino)

½ C Nuts  (I use walnuts because pine nuts are just too expensive!)

1)  Process basil, EVOO, nuts and garlic until fairly smooth, add cheese.  If serving on pasta... thin pesto with a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water.

2)  If you plan on freezing the pesto, process only the basil and EVOO. Place in freezer-safe container and top with a layer of EVOO to seal.  When you want to use it, defrost in the fridge overnight, and then add finely minced garlic, nuts, and cheese.

3)  If I’m freezing it, I’ll often add a handful of parsley to the processor. It keeps the pesto bright green.



Basic Crab Cakes

(Makes approximately 16 hors d’oeuvres-sized cakes) 

1 lb. Lump crab meat (picked over)

1 Rib celery, diced fine

1 Small shallot, diced fine

½ Red, orange or yellow pepper, diced fine (optional)

1 Egg

2 T Mayonnaise

Dash cayenne (optional)

 C Panko (plus more for dredging if desired)

Butter and EVOO for frying

1)  Thoroughly combine celery, shallot, pepper, egg, mayonnaise, and cayenne.

2)  Add crab and Panko, and gently fold in.

3)  Form gently into approximately 16 patties.  Allow to rest in refrigerator for about 1 hour.  Just before cooking, dredge in additional Panko if desired.

4)  For each 4 cakes, melt 1T butter in 2T EVOO, and fry at medium heat until golden on first side (about 2 minutes), flip, and fry for another 1½ to 2 minutes.

5)  Serve with lemon wedges and/or your favorite tartar sauce.



Lobster Rolls

(Serves approximately 6)

4-6 live lobsters (1 to 1½ pounds each)



Chives and/or tarragon


Shallots or scallions


Salt/pepper if needed

Hot dog buns


1) Bring 2 inches of water to a rolling boil in the largest pot you have, with a collapsible steamer basket in place (or a few smaller pots if necessary). 

2) Place the lobsters in, head down, and close the lid... FAST!

3) Lobsters are done when the shells turn bright red... approximately 12-14 minutes.  Remove with tongs to a rack or colander.  Allow to cool.

4) Remove as much meat as you can.  Save the shells for GREAT stock! 

5) Add finely chopped celery, shallots, and if you’d like... some tarragon and/or chives and/or a bit of lemon zest and/or capers.  Amounts are totally to taste... but the object is not to obscure the flavor of the lobsters!! 

6) Serve lobster on buttered, toasted hot dog buns (that’s traditional, but feel free to use any roll you like).

This “lobster salad” is also great on a bed of greens, in a halved avocado, or by itself.




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