Monday, June 1, 2009

Crab Asparagus Au Gratin

Let me just tell you this. This dish is RIDICULOUS. It's so close to heaven, I can't even see my house anymore. Fred fell out of his chair and into the dog dish. Seriously, the man is SO in love.

Last week I had a wonderful dinner at a new restaurant in Salt Lake called The Wild Grape. Their menu is marvelous. I sat through dinner trying to figure out how I could weasel my way back again the next night. I couldn't stop thinking about the Crab Au Gratin OR the Cheddar Grits OR the Spicy Shrimp, skewered and doing a great balancing act on the very tip top. Drool.

So here's my version (serves 2 to 3):

(BTW, this was a bit tricky to time. I would cook the grits first, leaving a little loose and finish cooking just before serving the au gratin. You will cook your shrimp immediately before plating.)
Ingredients List:

Crab/Asparagus Au gratin
1 lb - Asparagus, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1 lb - Finger or New Potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces, then boiled in salted water for 7 min or until just tender to a fork.
3/4 cup - Crab, claw meat worked well (see image below)

2 TB Butter
2 TB White Flour
1 Cup whole milk or you can use less fat but will take longer to get creamy consistency
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
1/3 Cup grated parmesan

Shrimp and Marinade
I used large shrimp but I might switch next time to jumbo. Less chance of over cooking.
12 Shrimp - peeled and marinaded in
2 TB - Olive Oil
4 TB - Lemon Juice
2 tsp - Chili Powder
--Mix these 3 together then toss with shrimp. Only needs to marinate 15 to 30 min.

Cheddar Grits
White Hominy Grits - Make according to package instructions, enough for 2 cups of cooked grits.
1/3 to 1/2 cup of Cheddar Cheese finely grated.

Wash and cut asparagus on an angle into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Heat oil in non stick pan then add asparagus and stir fry about 7 minutes, making sure not to overcook. The asparagus should stay slightly crisp and bright green.

Add pre-cooked, 1 inch pieces of new potatoes (I like the finger potatoes from Whole Foods) but you can use small red or gold new potatoes (the ones with thin skin). Let the potatoes golden up a bit on the bottom of the pan. Turn off burner but leave on heat to stay warm.

Measure out 3/4 cup (about 1/3 of a 12 oz can) of crab meat, depending on how much you like crab. Set aside.

Next, create a basic roux sauce. To do this, melt butter in your small skillet on medium heat, add flour and cook until it turns a golden color (about 1 minute), then slowly add your milk or cream until your sauce is the consistency of melted Velveeta. If it starts to get too thick just add a little more milk. Add salt, pepper and 1/3 cup grated parmesan. Now add your crab. Again, you may need to add a bit more milk to keep it creamy.

Next, pour the sauce and crab over the asparagus and potatoes and FOLD. Do not stir or you will have a mess. A few folds and you should be done! Put a lid over this to keep warm. Now finish your grits throw in the cheddar and add a bit more milk if its getting to thick. You really want the grits to be soft, not set up into a gelatinous glob.

Cook your marinated shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes on each side on a high heat. Be sure NOT to overcook.

Ladle out a generous portion of the creamy yellow grits, top with your au gratin and settle those perfect shrimp on top. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

Liz - This looks amazing, I'll have to try it. Although I there are a lot of steps - it sounds incredible. Lisa H

Anonymous said...

Mom, This looks amazing!!!! (Even if I dont like seafood, but i can make it with chicken!) You are so wonderful. Keep posting! Love you-Nornie