Local flavor: Land & sea
Story + Photos by Collins Doughtie
When I got word that “Local Flavor” was the theme for this month’s issue, it didn’t take me more than a few seconds to decide what to write about. As you might imagine, my wife, Karen, and I eat a whole lot of seafood. With more than enough household duties to even the deck, one thing Karen doesn’t do is cook. My dad did all the cooking for all five children, so maybe that inspired me to take on all culinary responsibilities. With that said, I have pretty much nailed seafood and wild game, especially dove and quail.
I have tried many seafood and game meals at friends’ houses, but when it comes particularly to seafood, the results are not all that great. Everything is overcooked. My approach is simple. With the ingredients in the picture on hand along with flour, I guarantee your love for these dishes will skyrocket. Bon appétit!
Panko-breaded shrimp or fish
This recipe couldn’t be simpler and from start to finish takes less than 30 minutes. In a Ziploc bag, mix panko breading, a healthy amount of Paul Prudhomme’s Redfish Magic spice and several saltines. Using a wooden mallet, crush the saltines to match the consistency of the panko breading. In a bowl, break two eggs, add a touch of milk and whisk them together. I prefer an iron skillet with at most a half-inch of oil. Set the heat just hot enough to have a water droplet spit when it hits the oil.
If cooking fish, cut into manageable-sized pieces. For both fish and shrimp, dredge them in the egg mixture before putting them in panko-saltine breading. This is when folks usually mess up overcooking seafood. Drop it in the skillet and it only takes a couple of minutes before you flip each piece once. You want a golden-brown look. If it appears burnt, turn down the heat a tad. I lay the finished pieces on paper towels until all are done. To really make a difference, skip tartar sauce and use remoulade sauce. Louisiana brand remoulade sauce is awesome and is available at most Publix grocery stores. Serve with fresh fruit or avocado. It’s to die for!
Fall-off-the-bone quail & dove
Along with Redfish Magic spice, Cavender’s All Purpose Greek seasoning is the bomb for dove, quail, chicken, salads and eggs. For quail or dove, once again use a bag to mix flour and a good amount of Cavender’s. Dampen fowl, shake in the bag until coated and in an iron skillet with just enough oil to cover the bottom, brown the birds.
Once browned, turn down the heat to a simmer and slowly add enough water to come halfway up the birds, and with a spoon, sprinkle a small amount of remaining flour mixture and cover pan. Check every few minutes. If the water has evaporated, add a touch more and add more of the flour mixture. Simmering slowly, you’ll notice gravy forming. Keep repeating the previous steps until you can take a fork and the meat begins to separate the meat from the bone. Believe it or not, I use Rice-a-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice. It cooks quickly, is delicious with dove (or quail) and with that rich gravy on top of the rice, you will never grill a wild bird again. It’s moist and is a real hit with game lovers. LL