Feuillantine de Crustaces

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Feuillantine de Crustaces

Or, how about “seafood in pastry”? This was a well-liked, elegant, warm appetizer at Louis XVI, the first successful authentic French (as opposed to Creole French) restaurant in New Orleans. This dish is very much in that style, rich with cream and seafood essence–not to mention a good deal of Louisiana fresh seafood, which fits into French cooking just fine. The recipe will seem difficult in the reading, but pay attention as you go and you’ll finish with something really impressive.

The puff pastry dough can be bought at better supermarkets or good bakeries.

Pastry wrapped baked crabmeat, shrimp, and/or crawfish.

Pastry wrapped baked crabmeat, shrimp, and/or crawfish.

  • 12 oz. prepared puff pastry dough
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. chopped French shallots (or onions)
  • 1 1/2 doz. fresh oysters, water reserved
  • 6 oz. lump crabmeat
  • 12-14 oz. crawfish tails, cooked
  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 Tbs. Cognac
  • 3/4 cup fish stock (or oyster water extended with plain water)
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • Dash Tabasco
  • Salt
  • White pepper

1. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly-floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. With a knife or a cutter, cut out rounds or ovals about 5-6 inches across.

2. Beat the egg with 1 tsp. water. Brush the tops of the pastry with the egg wash. Place the pastry on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

3. After cooling, split the pastries as you would a biscuit. Cut out the doughy parts of the inside of the pastry, and set the pastry aside.

4. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the butter until it bubbles and saute the shallots until clear. Add the oysters and shrimp and saute about three minutes, until the oysters begin to curl at the edges and the shrimp turn pink. Add the crawfish and crabmeat and stir in to heat through–about one minute.

5. Measure the Cognac into a glass and then pour it into the pan. Carefully touch a flame to it and allow the flames to die out. Add the fish stock and bring to a boil. Remove the seafood with a slotted spoon and set aside.

6. Whisk in the whipping cream slowly and bring to a slow simmer. Return the seafood to the pan, along with the green onions. Stir lightly until the seafood are incorporated into the sauce. Add the Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste.

7. Place a bottom half of each puff pastry on each serving plate. Divide the sauced seafood among the plates and top with the other half of the pastry.

Serves four.

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