Traveling to Louisiana has always been on my bucket list. I can't believe I've never been there...GASP...but, I've been close: Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi. Something has always come up, making it impossible for me to visit the "Bayou State".
Most folks seem to have an interest in heading to Louisiana for Mardi Gras, which is not necessarily my thing. My indulgent reason to visit Louisiana (and it's not any less hedonistic) is to eat, as in "Pig Out". I want to take myself on a self-imposed culinary tour. Are you surprised? I didn't think so.
Oh sure, I want to see the bayous, the alligators and the plantations, but between you and me, I'd really just love to sit and people watch on Bourbon Street with a steaming, hot cup of Cafe au Lait and a side of warm beignets. Then I'd move on to some hole-in-the-wall places serving jambalaya, red beans and rice, po'boys or maybe a muffuletta.
I'd eventually make my way down to Avery Island to learn about the production of TABASCO and then I'd indulge myself with some of the best seafood in world. Gulf seafood from Louisiana is by far superior and Louisiana Seafood is the best in the Gulf. I would make sure I have plenty of time in my itinerary to get my fill of the oysters, shrimp, crawfish, fish, alligator and pounds and pounds of the Louisiana blue crab I used in this recipe. It was amazing.
Louisiana blue crab meat happens to be lower in calories than king crab, but boasts more iron than snow or Dungeness crab meat. At 80 calories per 3.5 ounce portion, it has half of the USDA daily allowance for protein. I'll take that!
Lucky for us this gorgeous, jumbo lump blue crab is available year round. Find out where you can get yours.
This stunning gratin recipe, put together by Louisiana Seafood, is filled with fresh ingredients and flavorful cheeses.
A beautiful and easy to make roux is the bridge bringing together the produce, cheeses and crab into one stunning recipe.
Little stoneware gratin dishes are perfect for serving. Creme brulee dishes also work well. I placed mine on two trays in the oven so they were easy to put in and take out.
Like any gratin, a flavorful and crunchy topping is part of the package. This one does not disappoint.
Make the crust as thick as you prefer. As the gratin begins to bubble up from the bottom, it will incorporate into the breadcrumbs nicely.
It's no secret Louisiana is known for its celebratory nature. I have no doubt each meal is a social event in and of itself. I imagine friends, neighbors and families gathering around outdoor tables for crawfish boils, barbecued oysters and abundant shrimp feasts I can only picture in my dreams.
Louisiana's unique geographical features include a complex system of waterways that include two-alluvial deltas, rich estuaries, brackish bayous and lakes meeting the Gulf of Mexico.
These distinctive features are the reason this Gulf state is able to produce the volume and variety of seafood unlike anyone, anywhere else. Did you know Louisiana's shoreline is 7,721 miles long? That's more than California and Maine combined, which is pretty impressive.
Louisiana Seafood has plenty to celebrate as a brand built on the creation and enjoyment of their seafood. It makes sense why I have heard its praises for so long. I've got to get myself there to experience it all.
Louisiana Blue Crab Gratin
- 2 lbs Louisiana blue crab meat, jumbo lump
- 1/2 lb unsalted butter, divided
- 1-1/2 cups minced onions
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup small diced green bell peppers
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese, grated, divided
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Original TABASCO® brand pepper sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 teaspoons Creole seasoning, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt, to taste
- ground white pepper, to taste
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 2 loaves French bread, sliced and toasted
- Add 4 tbsp. butter and onions to medium sauté pan. Cook gently until onions are tender and translucent. Add celery and green peppers and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
- In medium sauce pot, melt remaining 12 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add flour and mix well. Add white wine, milk and heavy cream. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon juice, TABASCO®, Worcestershire, 2 tsp. Creole seasoning and nutmeg. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Remove from heat and reserve.
- Combine onion mixture with cream mixture. Add Louisiana blue crab meat and green onions. Toss gently to combine. Taste and add salt and white pepper as needed.
- Combine panko breadcrumbs, remaining 1 cup cheddar cheese, remaining 1 cup Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 tsp. of Creole seasoning.
- Divide crab mixture into 12 buttered gratin dishes. Top each generously with bread crumb mixture.
- Bake in 400°F oven for 12-15 minutes and then place under broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown the top.
- Serve with sliced toasted French bread.
It's impossible to take one bite.
Continue the conversation with Louisiana Seafood on social media and check out their other amazing recipes while your at it; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.
What Louisiana Seafood recipe would you like to try?
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Disclosure: I have been compensated by Louisiana Seafood Board for my time in sharing this recipe with you. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.