Monday, September 28, 2015

Buffalo Smelts with Grunion Parmesan Dip

     A Nice Alternative! 
     Lake Smelts are perfect alternative for Buffalo Chicken Wings.  Smelts have a light whitefish flavor and they cook quickly.  Smelts are usually coated with flour, breading or batter, then they are fried, so they are a finger food.  Smelts can also be prepared Buffalo Wing Style!  

     "Buffalo Style" refers to deep frying an item like chicken wings, then tossing the item with hot pepper sauce.  The hot sauce choice is usually a mild commercial product, like Frank's Red Hot Sauce (Durkee Red Hot), Crystal Louisiana Style Hot Sauce or Texas Pete Hot Sauce.  Frank's Red Hot Sauce was used to make the original Wing Sauce recipe at a restaurant in Buffalo, New York.
     Melted butter and seasoning are added to the mild hot pepper sauce to make the original Buffalo Wing Sauce.  Many chefs add a small amount of garlic, honey and/or BBQ Sauce to Buffalo Wing sauce, in order to make the sauce cling to the fried meat a little better and to make the sauce more appealing for customers that prefer mild chile pepper heat.  
     Some chefs look for ways to make Buffalo Wing Sauce hotter and spicier, without sacrificing the buttery characteristic of the original Buffalo Wing Sauce.  Matouk's Scotch Bonnet Sauce (Matouk's West Indian Flambeau Sauce) is a good choice for spicing up Buffalo Wing Sauce.  Other than cranking up the spicy heat a few notches, Matouk's does not change the buttery character of the original Buffalo Wing Sauce.  
     Matouk's Island Flambeau is very spicy Caribbean style hot sauce.  This Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce product is packaged in a standard ketchup bottle.  As one can imagine, because of the ketchup bottle shape it is all too easy to accidentally pour too much of this blazing hot sauce on food.  Then one must endure the long lasting intense Scotch Bonnet Chile Pepper heat!
     Blue Cheese Dressing usually accompanies the original Buffalo Wings.  The Grunion Parmesan Dip in today's recipe is a nice alternative to Blue Cheese Dressing.  
     Grunion Parmesan Dip:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 Buffalo Smelts appetizer.
     Place 1/4 cup of sour cream in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely minced green onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely grated parmesan cheese.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add white pepper and sea salt to taste.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Refrigerate the dip for 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Buffalo Sauce:  
     This recipe yields enough for 20 to 25 fried smelts.
     In restaurants, Buffalo Wing Sauce options are usually mild, medium or hot.  The word "Hot" usually describes a spicy Buffalo Sauce flavor that actually is fairly tame.  Restaurant style Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce should not be potent enough to bring tears to the eyes!  
     Extra spicy hot wing sauces are usually given their own special name, because the spicy heat is much higher than the Buffalo Wing Sauce range. 
     *For a standard Mild Buffalo Sauce flavor, skip adding the Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce.  For a Medium Buffalo Sauce, add less Scotch Bonnet Sauce.     
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of standard table condiment style hot sauce in a mixing bowl.
     *Products like Frank's Red Hot Sauce (Durkee Red Hot), Crystal Louisiana Style Hot Sauce or Texas Pete Hot Sauce are the best choice.  
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Matouk's West Indian Flambeau (Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce).
     Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1 small pinch of white pepper.
     Add 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter.
     Step 2:  Whisk the ingredients together.
     Set the mixing bowl aside, for 10 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Buffalo Smelts:
     This recipe yields 1 large appetizer portion that can be shared by 2 guests. 
     Smelts fry much quicker than chicken wings!
     Step 1:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF. 
     Step 2:  Dredge 20 to 25 lake smelts in unseasoned flour.
     Step 3:  Place a few floured smelts in the hot oil at a time, till they are all added.  (Gradually adding moist items to hot oil reduces foaming.)
     Fry the smelts, till they are crispy golden brown.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to gather the fried smelts from the hot oil.
     Place the fried smelts in the mixing bowl that contains the Buffalo Sauce.
     Gently toss the smelts with the sauce, till they are coated.
     Buffalo Smelts with Grunion Parmesan Dip:
     Place few lettuce leaves on a plate as a bed for the smelts.
     Mound the Buffalo Smelts on the lettuce.
     Place a large ramekin of the Grunion Parmesan Dip on the plate.

     Viola!  Buffalo Smelts!  

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