Bad Albert's recipes [Split from Seattle]
(Note: this was split from http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/799844 on the Seattle Board -- The Chowhound Team)
You know, sometimes we post an idea, and someone can try it: I believe I might try biscuits and crab gravy, or biscuits and smoked salmon gravy, instead of sausage gravy.
I bet they're both good!
I bet you'd enjoy this story:
A few years ago I tried a "Samoan" version of Shepherd's pie to see what would happen.
So I took plenty of taro leaves and layered them with pork and sometimes chicken (I did this several times) and poured coconut cream over it and spread a layer of cooked, mashed big taro over the top to seal it in, sometimes mixing the taro with coconut milk, sometimes not. (With coconut milk, the recipe is just TOO rich!)
It is a mixture of Palusami casserole and Shepherd's pie, or some kind of Polynesian lasagna (or whatever you want to call it) and my neighbors eat it up because it's good.
It's a lot easier to handle than trying to make individual Palusami laulaus, which kinda scare me. Too many unfamiliar steps.
Just getting used to taro leaves is a trip! For a time your kitchen looks like a florist shop as you try to do something, ANYTHING, to process these gigantic leaves into something edible.
Question: Can you eat the big veins and stems of taro leaves? I tried cutting the biggest ones out, but I don't really know if that's appropriate, or if I'm cutting out the best part.)
Biscuits and sausage gravy is a variation of a technique, rather than a specific recipe, and it does indeed lend itself to additions of other things, and crab would be wonderful, and so darn rich you could only eat a little of it! I've done the same thing before with a shredded beef you get in Vietnamese grocery stores called Beef Fu and made the Civil War version of SOS, the venerable military cafeteria food.
Using crab and smoked salmon would make that local. And now that I'm thinking of it, I wonder if it wouldn't be a good place to use those gigantic Pacific oysters we have so many of? They make nice fried-oyster po'boys, but they're so huge that you need to cut them in half before battering them. Dropping them into a cream sauce and serving over biscuits seems better than dropping them into canned clam chowder.
What I wouldn't do is try to make this kind of technique adaptable for vegans. Sure, broccoli and carrots in cream sauce would be good, but if you tried replacing the real milk with soy milk what you'd get is going to be a bean dip.
Although for milk-eating vegetarians, I don't see anything wrong with making Biscuits and gravy with some vegetables, so long as you kept the amounts down so the sauce predominates. You might even try dehydrated vegetables and brined pickles for flavor to approach the taste of SOS.
Hi, Pete Seattle:
Thanks for the tip; it'll be fun to make the Samoan twist.
Yes, kalo (taro) stems are edible. Ironically, kalo was very popular in Europe until about the time Rome disintegrated; they (and Apicius) called it colocasia.
Part of what makes Bad Albert's crab biscuit recipe so well-received is that it melds a comfy breakfast food with crab. Even if you are a regular crab eater, it just has a luxe feel to it.
Well, was thinking about you last night. Went out and bought one of those $2.00 cans of crab because wasn't sure if I wanted tuna a la king or to try crab a la king.
I settled on tuna.
Glad I did! Because I made some mistakes, and mistakes are better off with tuna fish than crab!
You see, I remembered to make tuna a la king I was to fry some onion, add sweet red peppers, add frozen peas, add mushroom soup, add a little milk, and once peas had swollen add a can of tuna fish.
It was "ok" but where I screwed up was in the amounts of stuff. Instead of using a couple of tablespoons of onion, I chopped up a whole smallish one. Instead of a single slice of red pepper, I went ahead and used the whole thing. Instead of chopping mushrooms and sauteeing them in a sauce thickened with flour, I used a cheap can of Western Family mushroom soup. (Don't bother: it has no taste) and instead of a few peas, I poured a cup and a half of them in.
Then when it was all cooked good and bubbly and the peas had swollen, I added a single can of tuna. I chopped up some Wonderbread toast to serve it over.
What I got was a very filling meal, and while good, there was barely any tuna taste at all! As strong as canned tuna tastes, that's saying something!
So, from this mistake, when I go to make crab a la king I know:
Use a couple of tablespoons of onion, use a single slice of sweet red pepper, use a small handful or less of peas, buy two or three mushrooms (Not Shiitakes) and slice and saute them in a little oil with the onions (somehow) and perhaps deglaze with flour and then dashi (TANGENT ALERT! Japanese Crab a la king is coming!*)
or salmon stock. The idea is that the strongest flavor you should taste should be the crab, and if you make this with tuna instead and you still can't taste the tuna fish you've overdone it.
Then instead of making biscuits, why not make crepes? Crepes are little more trouble than biscuits, use much less fat, and can be rolled around the nice thick crab sauce or a couple of slabs of sliced grilled salmon and the crab a la king sauce poured over all. (Might impress a date that you know how to cook)
*Japanese tangent. Replace the peas with a little tofu, replace the pepper and onion with wakame and snipped nori, replace the salmon stock with dashi or miso (whichever works) and don't thicken. Instead, serve over soba instead of toast. Might be a hit!