By Candace Bryan
The Windsor Court Hotel is one of the finest places to stay in New Orleans, and this year the hotel is celebrating its 30th year of success. In addition to delightful accommodations, the hotel also features award-winning restaurant, The Grill Room, and if you ever head down to New Orleans, sampling Chef Daniel Causgrove’s menu is an absolute must.
But if you’re stuck in New York for this year’s Mardi Gras festivities, no worries. Windsor Court Hotel Grill Room has shared some delicious recipes with us, so we can bring the taste of New Orleans to our own kitchens and put the “fat” in “Fat Tuesday.” Though some may use Mardi Gras as an excuse to over-indulge with booze, we’re going to class it up and use the holiday to do make some fancy seafood cuisine. No bead throwing necessary.
BLUE CRAB GRATIN
1 quart Heavy Cream
3 large Shallots
3 cloves Garlic
1 cup Sherry
18 stalks Asparagus
5 red radishes
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 pound Jumbo Lump Blue Crab
6 teaspoons Paddlefish Caviar
1 ounce Manchego Cheese Grated
3 cloves black garlic
6 slices Manchego cheese (sliced across the diameter of the wheel)
For the Sherry Cream: Slice shallots and garlic. In a medium sauce pan gently sauté shallots and garlic until translucent. Add sherry and reduce over medium heat until sherry is nearly evaporated and mixture is syrupy. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to steep at room temperature for 30 minutes. Strain and cool completely.
For the Garnish: Remove the stem from the asparagus to make 1 inch spears. Reserve the stems for another use. Remove the stem and root end of the radishes. Cut each radish into four pieces. In a small sauté pan combine radishes and vinegar, cook over medium high heat until vinegar is nearly evaporated. Add ½ cup of water to the pan and repeat process. When the water is nearly gone, taste a piece of radish. It should be tender. If not, add more water and continue to cook until tender. Peel the black garlic and slice each clove into three slivers.
To Finish: Pick crab over to remove shells. Bring 16 ounces of the cream to a boil in a medium pot. Add crab, caviar, and grated manchego. Stir thoroughly. Continue to cook until the mixture is shiny and has large bubbles. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into six small wide rimmed bowls. Top each with three asparagus tips, three braised radishes and three slivers of black garlic. Lay a slice of manchego over the mixture. Using a blowtorch, brown each until the cheese is translucent and golden brown. Serve.
CINNAMON-CURED YELLOFIN TUNA
1 quart Lemon Juice
1 two inch piece of ginger
8 ounces sugar
6 baby golden beets
6 Chioggia baby beets
1 large red beet
½ cup rice vinegar
2 ounces sugar
6 sticks cinnamon
2 tablespoons Szechwan pepper
½ cup kosher salt
1 pound Yellow Fin Tuna Loin (skin, bloodline and chain removed)
1 head fennel
1 bunch watercress
For the pickling liquid: Combine lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Peel and roughly chop ginger. Add ginger to pan then bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow ginger to steep for 25 minutes. Strain and cool completely.
For the beets: Peel the golden and Chioggia beets. Place them in a vacuum bag with about one tablespoon of the pickling liquid. Seal on high. Cook in a 185 degree water bath for 35 minutes. Remove and cool in an ice bath. Remove the root and stem end of the large beet. Place in a baking dish and cover the bottom of dish with a ½ inch layer of water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in a 350 degree oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until you can pierce the center easily with a cake tester. Uncover and cool completely. Carefully peel the skin from the beet using your hands or the back of a knife. Select a circular cutter just smaller than the diameter of the beet. Using the cutter, trim the beet into a cylinder, reserve the trim, then cut cylinder into ¼ inch thick discs. Place discs in pickling liquid to cover. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Combine trim with rice vinegar and 2oz sugar and cook until syrupy.
Place in a blender. Blend until smooth then pass through a chinios.
For the satsuma “vinaigrette:” Bring the remaining pickling liquid to a boil. Remove the stem ends of 4 satsumas, then cut into quarters, remove any seeds and place in a blender. Pour hot pickling liquid over the satsumas. Blend on high until mixture is very smooth.
For the tuna: Toast cinnamon sticks and Szechwan pepper in a dry pan until fragrant. Place in a spice grinder and process until fine. Combine with salt. Roll tuna in salt mixture and allow to cure in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
To finish: Make a streak of beet puree on the plate. Then place one of each baby beet and two beet discs on each plate. Segment remaining satsumas and place a few segments on each plate. Thinly slice tuna and place three slices on each plate. Agitate the vinaigrette in the blender for thirty seconds. Allow to settle for another thirty seconds and scoop the some the the froth that forms onto each plate. Shave some fennel on each plate. Place a few leaves of watercress on each plate. Serve.
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