Valentine’s Day Amuse Bouche – Oysters with Vanilla Sherry

A while ago I created these oysters with vanilla sherry vinaigrette for a magazine feature on aphrodisiac recipes. Incidentally, I thought it fitting for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Oysters with Vanilla Sherry Vinaigrette
Ingredients: (for 12 oysters)

12 cleaned, shucked oysters
Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
1 tbs. sherry vinegar
1 pinch minced shallots
1 sprig of fresh thyme (leaves removed)
3 tbs. canola oil
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Blend all ingredients. Drizzle over oysters and enjoy!

Oyster with Vanilla Sherry Vinaigrette

Oyster with Vanilla Sherry Vinaigrette

Madi Gras-Inspired Crawfish Stew

Beads…check. Hurricane cocktail…check. Masquerade mask…check. Now you just need a dish to complete the night. Check out this recipe for Crawfish Stew with Cinnamon and Star Anise. Great for Mardi Gras and the cold weather.

Crawfish Stew
Crawfish Stew with Cinnamon and Star Anise
By Chef Josh Hebert, Posh Restaurant

Ingredients:
2 lbs. crawfish
2 cup white wine
1 T red wine vinegar
3 each cinnamon sticks
6 each star anise pods
2 -10 oz. cans chopped tomato
1 T tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig rosemary
3 bay leaves
3 each celery ribs, large dice
3 each carrots, large dice
2 each onions, large dice
6 T butter
4 T dark roux
Black peppercorns

Procedure:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the crawfish, remove and allow to cool. Reserve water.

Pull crawfish tails from the body and remove from the shells, set aside. Place the shells and bodies back in the water, add 3 bay leaves, a few black peppercorns, and red wine vinegar. Allow to simmer for 1 ½ hours. Strain through a fine sieve and reserve liquid.

In a pot, sweat carrot, celery and onion in butter (to make mirepoix). Add white wine and bring to a simmer. Strain through a cheesecloth. Add all herbs, spices and mirepoix to the cheesecloth, tie off and place at bottom of an 8-quart earth ware container.

Add liquid to the container with white wine and stock, add tomato paste and canned tomatoes, simmer for 2 hours until reduced by approximately 1/3. Puree mixture and strain. Add back to earthenware container.

Place crawfish tails back in liquid, stir cold roux into hot liquid to create the proper consistency. Season with a few drops of lime juice, a pinch of sugar, salt and white pepper to taste. You may add a touch of red wine vinegar or Tabasco to bring the heat up, or add tons of fresh herbs if desired.

Also posted to: http://www.thedailymeal.com/crawfish-stew-cinnamon-and-star-anise