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04/15/2015

~ Succulent Seafood Newburg Crepes for a Crowd ~

IMG_6068There 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!!!

IMG_7013Thanks 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 IMG_5924myself, 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 IMG_5955Related 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).

IMG_6824For the 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

IMG_5772For the Newburg sauce:

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

IMG_58331 1/2-2 pounds bay scallops, well-drained (about 3-4 cups)

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.

IMG_5970Decide 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.

IMG_6944 IMG_6870                                               ~ Step 1. Once the crepes are made and the seafood IMG_5876Newburg is prepared, there is nothing left to do except assemble, bake and serve the crepes.

Note:  I often prepare both of these components 1-2 days in advance of assembling, baking (just to reheat the seafood) and serving.

IMG_5974 IMG_5980 IMG_5983 IMG_5984 IMG_5990                          ~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 IMG_6006(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.

Note:  To cheese or not to cheeese. IMG_6018Some folks have an aversion to grated cheese on seafood.  I do not. Omit it if you are "one of those".

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"...

IMG_6037... and there's a little bit of everything in each delightful bite:

IMG_6093Succulent 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) 

IMG_7160Cook'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)

04/12/2015

~ Sinfully-Simple Sherry & Cream Newburg Sauce ~

IMG_5955Newberg or Newburg sauce is a 100% French sauce with an all-American name, and, is 100% associated with the famous dishes:  lobster Newberg and seafood Newburg.  That said, this sauce is not just for seafood.  In fact, the sauce itself doesn't contain lobster or any other seafood, and, it isn't made with lobster or seafood stock either.  It's a silky-smooth, sinfully-rich, liquor-laced cream sauce, originally made from cream, cognac, sherry, egg yolks and cayenne pepper.  This combination of rather ordinary ingredients renders it very versatile -- perfect for saucing all sorts of fish, seafood, meat, poultry, egg and vegetable dishes.  It is addicting!

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hardest, I would rate my version and almost all modern-day scratch versions of this sauce a 1 or a 2.  It is simple and straightforward, one can't take too much creative license with a classic, and, it's quick and easy, going from stovetop to table in about 10 total minutes.  About the only mistake a novice can make with it is allowing it to simmer or boil, which will cause it to break (the fat will separate/float to the top), but even if that happens, if you remove it from the heat and keep whisking it as it cools down, it pulls itself back together. It's foolproof, which is why I never understood the need for manufactured alternatives.

51SPii9i4iL Campbells-shrimp-soupSeafood Newburg (a dish of previously-poached, fork-friendly, mixed seafood stirred into previously-prepared Newburg sauce) and seafood Newberg (the same dish prepared using lobster exclusively) became very popular with homemakers during the 1950's, '60's and '70's because it didn't take a ton of time to make or a lot of skill to prepare.  As with almost anything made with a cream sauce at the time, the cream-of-soup and packaged-dry-mix people stuck their two cents in and dumbed-down versions of this super-easy sauce began appearing everywhere.  I know this because when I started making Newburg sauce as a new bride back in 1974, I was determined to never travel down either of those roads.

IMG_57724  ounces salted butter (1 stick)

8-12  tablespoons minced shallots

4  tablespoons dry sherry

2  cups heavy or whipping cream

2  jumbo egg yolks

4  tablespoons tomato paste

1  teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

IMG_5774~ Step 1.  In a 1-quart measuring container, using a stick blender, combine cream, yolks, tomato paste and Old Bay until smooth and pink.

IMG_5777 IMG_5782 IMG_5784 IMG_5790 IMG_5793~Step 2.  Mince the shallots as directed.  In a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Add shallots and adjust heat to saute, until shallots are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.  Add sherry and continue to cook about 2-3 more minutes.  Turn heat off.

IMG_5800~ Step 3. Stir in a small, 1/4-1/2 cup of the cream mixture. After that small IMG_5802amount is thoroughly stirred in, switch from using a spoon to a whisk and slowly drizzle in the rest of the cream mixture, whisking constantly.  Over medium heat, whisking constantly (do not stop for any reason), bring the mixture to the point where if you do stop for 1-2 seconds, it is simmering.  This will take about 3 additional minutes.

IMG_5828Remove from heat, cover and set aside. You will have 3 cups of Newburg sauce, which can be covered and refrigerated overnight and reheated/warmed ever-so-gently in the microwave the next day.

Seafood Newburg:  Shrimp Scallops & Crabmeat!

(Just click on the Related Article link below for this simply-divine recipe.)

IMG_5924Sinfully-Simple Sherry & Cream Newburg Sauce:  Recipe yields 3 cups sauce.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 2-quart saucepan w/lid; large spoon; whisk

6a0120a8551282970b01901da4c5da970bCook's Note:  I have a love affair with this sauce served drizzled on vegetables. It's fantastic on asparagus, which is in-season right now, but it's heaven on broccoli and cauliflower too.  Check out my post, ~ Cooking Broccoli or Cauliflower in a Rice Steamer ~ by clicking into Categories 4, 14, 15 or 20.  In the short time it takes these two veggies to steam, the sauce is prepared! 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015) 

04/10/2015

~ Seafood Newburg: Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat ~

IMG_5924This sinfully-rich dish of sweet, tender seafood swimming in a silky-smooth cream sauce is one of those quintessential dishes of the latter 1950's, '60's and '70's that sadly, many cooks have forgotten about. Not me.  It's one of the first fancy-schmancy restaurant dishes American housewives started making at home because it didn't take a ton of time or a lot skill to prepare from scratch. Then, as with almost anything made with a cream sauce at the time, the cream-of-soup people stuck their two cents in and began to sell cream of shrimp soup -- dumbed down versions began appearing everywhere.   I know this, because when I started making Newburg as a new bride back in 1974, I was determined to never travel down the cream-of-anything road.

IMG_5922How you spell it = what is in it.  Newberg vs Newburg.  

Newberg = lobster only.  Newburg = other or mixed seafood.

A bit about Lobster Newberg:  This is a 100% French dish with an all-American name.  It was the brainchild of Ben Wenberg, a sea captain in the mid 1800's.  In 1876, he demonstrated his all-lobster dish to the manager of Old Delmonico's Restaurant in NYC. After a bit of recipe tweeking, done by the restaurant's French chef Pascal this elegant dish appeared on the menu as: Lobster a la Wenberg.  After a disagreement between Wenberg and Delmonico, the dish was removed from the menu, then, to satisfy complaints from patrons, it quickly reappeared, under the name of Lobster a la Newberg.  When the recipe appeared in print in 1897, it revealed that live lobsters were boiled, chopped, fried in clarified butter, then simmered in a liquor-laced mixture of cream, cognac, sherry, eggs and cayenne pepper until the mixture reduced by half, then, it was brought back to a boil after adding some Madeira -- a labor-intensive, time-consuming process.

IMG_5895A bit about seafood Newburg and Newburg sauce:  By the 1930's variations of the dish began showing up in restaurants everywhere -- all less complicated to make:  fork-friendly pieces of previously-poached (in stock and white wine) fish, lobster, shrimp, scallops, crayfish and/or crabmeat, gently reheated in the previously-prepared sauce.  In 1938, Delmonico's paid homage to this most famous dish by naming its mixed seafood version:  Newburg. As for the separately prepared Newburg sauce, it became well-known for its versatility to sauce all sorts of fish, seafood, meat, poultry, egg and vegetable dishes.

Choose your favorite foil:  egg noodles, steamed rice or toast points.  

My 1st choice: pretty-to-look-at, oh-so-easy puff pastry shells!

IMG_5733Before you start, decide what you want to serve your Newburg atop.  It's superb over cooked egg noodles or steamed white rice, but, it was classically served over brioche toast points.  I like all of them, but, when I'm in the mood for the classic, an alternative which lends an elegant touch to the presentation, is:  a package of store-bought puff pastry shells.  I'm baking 2 packages today, for a total of 12 shells, which will be enough to serve 6 people as a main course (2 per person).

IMG_5738 IMG_5742~ Step 1.  Place pastry shells, pre-scored sides up, on a parchment lined baking pan.  Bake on center rack of preheated 400 degree oven about 18-20 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown.

IMG_5755 IMG_5760~ Step 2. Remove from oven and immediately transfer pastry shells to a cooling rack.  Allow to cool 5-6 minutes.   Using the blade of a sharp knife, follow the score lines all around each top/perimeter without plunging the knife so far into the centers as to pierce through to the bottom.

IMG_5761~ Step 3.  Using your fingertips and the knife blade, carefully lift off each top, along with the soft pastry attached to it underneath.

IMG_5766Place the tops on a paper towel lined plate and set aside to use as garnish for the finished dish.

My Sinfully-Simple Sherry & Cream Newburg Sauce!

IMG_57724  ounces salted butter (1 stick)

8-12 tablespoons minced shallots

4  tablespoons dry sherry 

2  cups heavy or whipping cream

2  jumbo egg yolks

4  tablespoons tomato paste

1  teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

IMG_5774~ Step 1.  In a 1-quart measuring container, using  a stick blender, combine cream, yolks, tomato paste and Old Bay until smooth and pink. 

IMG_5777 IMG_5782 IMG_5784 IMG_5790 IMG_5793~Step 2.  Mince the shallots as directed.  In a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Add shallots and adjust heat to saute, until shallots are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.  Add sherry and continue to cook about 2-3 more minutes.  Turn heat off.  

IMG_5800~ Step 3. Stir in a small, 1/4-1/2 cup of the cream mixture. After that small amount is thoroughly stirred in, IMG_5802switch from using a spoon to a whisk and slowly drizzle in the rest of the cream mixture, whisking constantly.  Over medium heat, whisking constantly (do not stop for any reason) bring the mixture to the point where if you do stop for 1-2 seconds, it is simmering.  This will take about 3 additional minutes.  

IMG_5828Remove from heat, cover and set aside. You will have 3 cups of Newburg sauce, which can be covered and refrigerated overnight and reheated/warmed ever-so-gently in the microwave the next day.

My favorite fork-friendly combination of seafood for Newburg:

IMG_58332  pounds extra-large shrimp (26-30 count), peeled and deveined, tails-off, about 1 1/2 pounds shrimp after peeling

1  pound bay scallops, drained

1  pound pasteurized jumbo lump crabmeat, the best available, well-drained

1  quart shrimp stock, preferably homemade

3  cups white wine (Note:  Feel free to substitute shrimp stock for wine.)

IMG_5837 IMG_5839  IMG_5842 IMG_5851 IMG_5862                                       ~ Step 1.  Place the shrimp stock and white wine in a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Do not lower the heat. Add the shrimp and wait 3 minutes. Add the scallops and wait 3 minutes, or until seafood returns to a simmer.  Drain into a colander and immediately return shrimp and scallops to the hot pan and return the pan to the still warm stovetop. Gently fold in the lump crabmeat.

IMG_5876 IMG_5867~ Step 2. Add and gently fold in all of the warm Newburg sauce.  Three cups of sauce will be, and is, the perfect amount to enrobe all of this sweet, succulent seafood. This is enough seafood for 6-8 main-course servings no matter what you're serving it atop.  Serve pleasingly warm, not steaming hot.

Pile 'em high and pretty too -- presentation is everything!

IMG_5916Seafood Newburg:  Shrimp, Scallops & Crabmeat:  Recipe yields 6 main-course servings (2 per person) or 12 starter-course servings (1 per person).

Special Equipment List:  baking pan; parchment paper; cooling rack; sharp paring knife; paper towels;  1-quart measuring container; electric stick blender; cutting board; chef's knife; 2-quart saucepan w/lid; large spoon; whisk; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight deep sides; colander

6a0120a8551282970b017d431e0c64970cCook's Note:  Whenever I am making a shrimp dish that requires me to peel the uncooked shrimp I place and store the shells in two big bags in my freezer.  The moment I get two pounds, which is a lot of shells, I make shrimp stock.  You can find my recipe ~ Save Those Shrimp Shells!!!  Because I Said So!!! (How to:  Make a Basic Shrimp Stock a la Melanie ~ in Categories 14, 15 or 22!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)