Prep 30 mins
Cook 25 mins
This is my re-creation of a fabulous dish of shrimp, scallops and crab that I enjoyed in Northern California almost 40 years ago. It made such an impression on me that I've tried to find someone... anyone... who served it ever since, but with no success. Now, here is my own version that I believe captures the original qualities I've tried so many years to find. A very nice factor with this recipe is you don't need fresh seafood to make it. We live 45 miles from the nearest fresh fish market, so we've learned to not depend on fresh fish for the success of our recipes. If you have access to fresh shellfish for this recipe, it will be even better, but if you need to use IQF seafood, the recipe will work perfectly well if you simply allow your shellfish to thaw gently, either in cold running water, or overnight in the refrigerator. The sauce is not heavy but still rather rich, and will actually thin some as it cooks because the shellfish will give up some of its moisture.
- 8 ounces bay shrimp (100 count or smaller)
- 8 ounces bay scallops (60-80 count... the small, bite-sized ones, not the big guys)
- 8 ounces lump crabmeat (Dungeness is my favorite and was used in the original, but your region may have something you prefer)
- 4 scallions, sliced very thin (use all the white and as much of the green as you like)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Wondra Flour (or you may substitute AP flour)
- 1 cup clam juice (available in bottles or cans near the canned tuna in most stores)
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons cream
- sea salt, to taste (kosher can be used)
- 1 smidgen cayenne (that's about half a pinch)
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1⁄4 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional) or 1⁄4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat olive oil in heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium-low heat.
- Add scallion and a good pinch of salt. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow to brown.
- Add flour and stir until all oil is absorbed, forming a heavy paste.
- Cook paste (this is a white roux with scallions in it at this stage) for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid browning.
- Add 1/2 of the clam juice, stirring well to incorporate and avoid lumping.
- Add 1/2 of the clam juice, repeating the process.
- Stir in the wine.
- Stir in the cream.
- Add cayenne and white pepper.
- Bring sauce to a very low simmer. Taste sauce and adjust salt to taste. (I usually add about 1/2 tsp, but salt varies so sneak up on it rather than use more than you like.).
- Test the thickness by dipping a spoon into the sauce and letting it run off. It should be just thick enough to coat and cling to the back of the spoon -- this is called "nappe" (pronounced "na-pay" by my culinary instructor but my college French professor would have said "nap",) in classical cooking. If it is too thick, add a bit more clam juice or cream until you get the desired thickness, and reheat to a very low simmer.
- Add parsley and stir to incorporate.
- Preheat 2 oval ramekins (we use about a 4"x6" size, but any oval large enough to contain 12 oz of seafood will work) by running them under hot water.
- Place 1/2 of shrimp in one end of each ramekin. Place 1/2 of crab in opposite end of each ramekin. Place 1/2 of scallops in the center of each ramekin. (Yes, you want the seafood separated into neat little sections. It works. Trust me.).
- Pour 1/2 of the sauce evenly over the contents of each ramekin. Don't worry if the sauce wants to stick on the top -- it will run down into the seafood as the "casserole" bakes.
- If desired, you can put a thin layer of panko to the top of each ramekin. (This is not how the original was done, but my sister likes a bit of contrast in her textures so I do this when I'm cooking for her as well, and it certainly doesn't hurt anything.).
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top begins to show signs of browning. If there is no sign of browning after 20 minutes, raise the shelf and turn your oven to broil. Broil for no more than 5 minutes! This depends on your oven, and if you cook the seafood too long, you will get rubbery seafood.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
I used a good fish stock rather than clam juice as it's hard to get hold of in the UK and expensive when you can get it.<br/><br/>It went down well in this house and has been requested again today, which has prompted me to review it.<br/><br/>Basic dried breadcrumbs were used and the whole dish worked wonderfully.