This recipe was inspired by my friend Scottie Johnson from Chicago. We first met via The BBQ Forum on the Internet and realized we were almost neighbors. I wish you could see his adorable little girls. It was first created for deep-fried turkeys, but works just great in the BBQ for all poultry and it makes a great fish marinade too.
Garlic Cayenne Calamari with Nigerian Fried Pepper Sauce
This South African recipe is a party favorite. However, take care to not over cook the calamari; it turns from tender to tough and chewy very quickly, so removed from the pan the moment it is done.
- 1 1/2 pounds calamari tubes, throughly cleaned
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon milled black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 7 ounces butter
- 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
- Fresh lemon juice
- Lemon wedges for squeezing
- Nigerian Fried Red Pepper Sauce
Slice the calamari according to size; smaller specimens are better cut in half, lenghtwise, laid flat and each piece scored lighly in a diamond pattern. Next, toss the calamari in the flour seasoned with the black pepper and cayenne.
In a large, non-stick frying pan, heat the butter and oil until it starts to brown. Stir in the garlic, add the calamari and cook for one and a half to two minutes, depending on the thickness. Press it down with a spatula to brown nicely. Cook the calamari in batches, to control how quickly it cooks.
Transfer the calamari to a warmed serving platter, and squeeze the lemon wedges over the top. Last, spoon the sauce over the appetizer. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with rice.
Steamed Crayfish with Cayenne-Spiced Butter
A wide variety of seafood is both extraordinarily popular and available in South Africa. This spicy starter features crayfish steamed in wine, vinegar herbs, which is then reduced to form the base of a hot butter sauce. Please note: To preserve the succulent flavor, the crayfish must be freshly steamed and should not be refrigerated between steaming and serving. The sauce, too, should be freshly makde and spooned over the crayfish while it is still warm.
- 8 crayfish tails (or substitute large shrimp)
- 4 ounces dry white wine
- 2 ounces white wine vinegar
- 1 dried or fresh bouquet garni (parsley, fennel, thyme)
- Cleaned butter lettuce leaves
- Spiced melon or paw-paw
- Sprigs of parsley
- The Butter
- Stock from poaching cray fish
- 4 1/2 ounces cold butter, cut in small cubes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder or to taste
Slice the crayfish tails by snipping down the length of the shell–both back and belly–with a pair of scissors. With a sharp knife cut through the flish and remove alimentary canal. (Doing it this way is preferable to simply slicing through the shell, which is inclined to damage the flesh).
In a medium saucepan combine the wine, vinegar and herbs. Bring to boil and add the crayfish, shells down. Cover and simmer very gently for 4 to 5 minutes until the crayfish is perfectly cooked. Remove from stock and cover with foil to keep warm while preparing the sauce.
To make the Butter, increase the heat and boil the stock uncovered until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Remove from the heat, discard the herbs and whisk in the butter a little at a time, until the sauce is silky smooth. Season with the ground pepper and cayenne.
To Serve: Arrange the lettuce leaves on the four serving plates. Remove the crayfish for the shells, place each piece ont the lettuce and spoon over just a touch of the butter sauce. Garnish each serving with sliced melon and a sprig of parsley. Serve warm
Planked Trout with Cayenne and Herbs
This is a fun recipe for the summer and one that actually requires a wood or charcoal fire because it’s almost impossible with a gas fire. Just remember to remove the nails before serving.
2 large trout fillets or half trouts with skin, boned
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each fresh herbs such as rosemary, marjoram, and thyme)
Choose two thick, non-resinous planks—no pine. Soak the planks in water for at least 1 hour.
Build fire of wood or charcoal in front of a rock or sand pile to reflect heat towards the fish. Let it burn down to hot coals. Pile the coals in front of the rock, or move them to one side of the kettle grill.
Mix together the pepper, cay-enne, salt, and herbs in a bowl. Center the fillets on the planks, skin side down. Drive a few nails part way into each fillet to hold it in place. Brush with oil and then sprinkle with the cayenne and herb mixture. Cover the ends of boards with foil to catch drippings and to keep boards clean. Stand the planked fish at an angle in front of fire, tail end down. Rotate the plank to provide even cooking. Cook until fish flakes in thickest part, about 20 minutes.
To serve, remove the nails.
Sawani (Lamb Shank Casserole with Cayenne)
Typical of the Middle East, there are many variations on this dish, some with carrots instead of potatoes and some lacking tomatoes. Chopped fresh green chiles can be substituted for the cayenne if you wish.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds lamb shanks
2 onions, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cayenne, or more to taste
2 cups lamb or beef stock
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, diced
½ cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped Italian parsley leaves for garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and brown the lamb shanks. Add the onions and brown for 2 minutes. Add the cayenne and stock, transfer to a casserole dish, cover, and cook on low heat for 1 hour and fifteen minutes.
Add the tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, and wine and simmer, covered, for another hour, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste just before serving and sprinkle with the parsley.
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