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Alligator Creole-Italian Style

This dish takes advantage of the resemblance alligator tail meat has–in texture, color, and weight–to baby white veal. The hardest part of this dish is finding the alligator. If you can’t, you can use veal, pork loin, or even chicken. Oddly enough, the best side dish for this is buttered stone-ground grits.

  • 1 lb. alligator tail meat, sliced across the grain, 1/4 inch thick
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes, with 1/2 cup of the juice
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

1. Dust the alligator cutlets very lightly with flour and a little salt and white pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet to just shy of smoking temperature and sauté the cutlets about a minute on each side. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.

2. In the remaining olive oil, sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery, fennel, and parsley until tender. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the skillet with the tomato juice, parsley, cayenne, lemon juice, and white wine. Bring to a simmer.

3. Return the alligator cutlets to the pan and cook them in the sauce for two or three minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve with lots of sauce and hot buttered grits on the side.

Serves four.

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