Friday, May 27, 2016

Cajun Beer Batter Smelts with Louisiana Green Mayonnaise

     Spicy Beer Batter Lake Smelts!
     As the old fry cook saying goes, "We beer batter anything!"  There actually are restaurants that will literally beer batter anything.  A famous restaurant in Boston offers only beer batter food and they will beer batter anything that customers request.   Beer batter pizza slices, beer batter cheeseburgers and even beer batter wedding cake is served at this place.  That definitely is thinking outside of the beer batter to-go box!
     Cajun style beer batter appeals to those who get a kick out of spicy food that has a lot of flavor.  Cajun beer batter is seasoned with traditional Louisiana Cajun herbs and spices.  Cayenne Pepper gives this beer batter a healthy spicy kick!
     Louisiana Green Mayonnaise is actually a component of a traditional Louisiana Green Potato Salad recipe.  Green Mayonnaise is flavored with green peppers, green onion and fresh green herbs.  A small dab of Creole Mustard gives Green Mayonnaise a zesty flavor.
     Smelts are a small fresh water fish that are netted in the Great Lakes region.  There are several species of smelts worldwide and there are salt water species in South America.  Smelts are also caught in brackish river mouths on the northeast coast.  Smelts are usually cleaned and boned before being sold.  Asian style smelts usually have the head attached, while most commercial smelts in American food markets have the heads lopped off.
     Smelts have a nice light clean whitefish flavor.  Fried smelts are a favorite at seafood restaurants and they are offered as finger food at bar & grill restaurants.  Smelts can be beer battered or breaded and fried.  Smelts are sustainable, so they are guilt free snack food.

     Louisiana Green Mayonnaise:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  (4 portions.)
     Fresh herbs are best for this recipe.
     Step 1:  Place 3/4 cup of mayonnaise in a food processor.
     Add 2 teaspoons of Louisiana Creole Mustard.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.    
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of chopped green onion top.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped green jalapeño.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced capers.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped dill weed.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon pinch of chopped oregano.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped tarragon.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped marjoram.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped basil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced thyme.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.  (2 to 3 pinches)
     Step 4:  Pulse the food processor till the ingredients are blended smooth.
     Step 5:  Place the Louisiana Green Mayonnaise in a container.
     Chill for 1 hour, so the flavors meld.

     Cajun Beer Batter:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 large portion of smelts.  
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of lager beer in a mixing bowl.
     Add just enough flour while whisking to make a thin batter.  The consistency should be like a thin pancake batter.
     Step 2:  Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper.  (to taste)
     Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Add 1 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Step 3:  Whisk the ingredients together.
     Chill the beer batter till it is needed.

     Cajun Beer Batter Smelts with Louisiana Green Mayonnaise:
     This recipe yield 1 large appetizer portion that can be shared by 2 guests.
     Step 1:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360ºF.
     Step 2:  Weigh an 8 to 10 ounce portion of cleaned boned smelts.
     Dredge the smelts in flour.
     Step 3:  Dip a few smelts in the Cajun Beer Batter.
     Place a few beer batter smelts in the pot of hot oil at a time, so the smelts do not all stick together.
     Continue adding a few at a time till all the smelts are in the hot oil.
     Use a fryer net to gently toss the smelts in the hot oil to separate any smelts that may have stuck together.
     Fry the Cajun beer batter smelts till they are crispy golden brown and fully cooked.
     Step 4:  Use a fryer net to remove the smelts from the hot oil.
     Place the smelts on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Step 5:  Place a bed of Italian Parsley sprigs on a plate.
     Place the ramekin of Louisiana green mayonnaise on the plate.
     Mound the Cajun beer batter smelts on the plate and serve!

     Hot fresh spicy Cajun Beer Batter smelts have a very nice aroma and flavor!  Louisiana style Green Mayonnaise is a tasty dipping sauce!

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