There was an eight-year timespan in my life when I spent every day cooking for a crowd. In mom-speak, it is referred to as "the teenage boy years" and I raised three. During those years, one casserole of anything was not enough -- two was mandatory, and, if I wanted leftovers I made four. On pizza nights, I made six -- big ones. I doubled or tripled every recipe that could be doubled or tripled to accommodate their appetites. I put a second refrigerator in my garage, bought a 24-quart stockpot for my stovetop and a 20-cup food processor for my countertop. I was on a first-name basis with the manager of every grocery store in town. I had it easy -- the neighbor to the left of me had five boys and the neighbor just up the street had four!!!
Thanks to this hands-on, learn-as-you-go experience, for me, entertaining a group of friends for a Friday or Saturday evening dinner party wasn't much different than cooking a weeknight meal for my family -- it certainly wasn't any more work -- all I needed to do was buy some wine and "fancy things up a bit". One way to "fancy up" almost any food that can be served on a bed of rice on a weeknight is to wrap it in a crepe on the weekend. Learning to make crepes was one of the best things I ever did for myself, and, I was thrilled to find out how easy they were to prepare. Like fine linen, the crepe has a place at every occasion. Click on the Related Article link below to learn ~ How to: Make 'French' Crepes (Sweet or Savory) ~.
~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~ was a dish I served, from time-to-time, over rice (or atop store-bought puff pastry shells) for my family. If that sounds extravagant, it's not. All of my boys loved seafood (even our youngest and pickiest eater), and, all of my boys, including Joe, got to request what would be served for their birthday dinner. Just click on the Related Article link below to get my family's favorite Newburg version.
Seafood newburg is simply a mixture of previously-poached, tender seafood stirred into the previously-prepared sauce. My ~ Sinfully Simple Sherry & Cream Newburg Sauce ~ is versatile too -- it's great drizzled on all sorts of fish, poultry and vegetables. Seafood Newburg crepes quickly became one of my favorite dinner-in-the-diningroom entrees. Elegant seafood enrobed in a silky-smooth cream sauce encased in a tender crepe. It's easy-to-make and all of the work can be done ahead of time too. A dream come true!
Here's everything you'll need to make 24 seafood Newburg-filled crepes (12 servings) and 6 cups of Newburg sauce (3 cups for seafood filling and 3 cups for saucing finished crepes).
1 cup each: whole milk and flour
1/2 cup club soda, or water
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons salted butter (1/2 stick), melted in the microwave and cooled for about 5 minutes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing crepe pan on skillet
8 ounces salted butter (1 stick)
1 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups heavy or whipping cream
4 jumbo eggs
8 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
For the seafood:
3 pounds extra-large shrimp (26-30 count), peeled and deveined, tails-off, about 2 1/4-2 1/2 pounds shrimp after peeling
1 pound pasteurized crabmeat, the best available, well-drained
1 quart shrimp stock
3 cups white wine
Prepare crepes and seafood Newburg according to the detailed directions and methods provided in both recipes (click on the Related Article links below), using the quantity of ingredients listed above.
Decide whether you want to bake your assembled crepes in 3, 13" x 9 x 2" casseroles, or, 12 individual-sized au gratin dishes. While I like to serve this elegant sit-down dinner in individual au gratins containing two crepes each, I also make them in casseroles (8 crepes per casserole dish) whenever I'm serving them for buffet-style dining.
Note: I often prepare both of these components 1-2 days in advance of assembling, baking (just to reheat the seafood) and serving.
~Step 2. One-at-a-time, place each crepe on a plate and put a generous 1/2 cup of the seafood Newburg mixture, in a lengthwise strip, across the center of it. Lift the side of the crepe closest to you and place it on top of the filling, then, firmly roll the crepe over. Arrange the assembled crepes, seams side down in either the casseroles (8 crepes per dish), or, the au gratins (2 per dish), which have been sprayed with no-stick spray.
Note: Because the casseroles are self-explanatory, I'm showing you how I bake the au gratins.
Place 6 au gratins of crepes, side-by-side, on each of 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the top of each dish with a generous 1/4 cup of the remaining 3 cups of Newburg sauce.
Using a microplane grater, generously sprinkle finely-grated Parmigianno-Reggiano over all.
~ Step 3. Bake, uncovered, on center rack of preheated oven, about 18-20 minutes, until sauce is bubbling, edges of the crepes are browning and cheese is melting. Remove from oven and allow to rest, 3-5 minutes, prior to serving.
As we say in the biz... "that's a wrap"...
Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd: Recipe yields 12 servings (2, 6" round or square seafood Newburg crepes per person) and is written to easily cut in half, or, double, triple or quadruple (adjusting saucepan and chef's pan sizes accordingly).
Special Equipment List: 1-quart measuring container; hand-held stick blender or blender; plastic wrap; 6" nonstick stovetop griddle, or, round nonstick skillet, or, crepe pan of choice; 1/4 cup ladle or measure; long, thin spatula, preferably nonstick; cutting board; chef's knife; 4-quart saucepan w/lid; large spoon; whisk; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight deep sides; colander; 3, 13" x 9" x 2" casseroles, or, 12, 8" x 4 1/2" individual-sized au gratin dishes; 1/2 cup measure; microplane grater (optional)
Cook's Note: The recipes for savory and sweet crepes are the same, with sugar being added to the latter. ~ As American as Mom's Apple Pie & French Crepes ~ is one of my favorite sweet crepe desserts. Click into Categories 6, 9, 11, 18, 20 or 21 to get my recipe!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)