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"Jamie Shannon pushes, nurtures, and derives more life, passion,
and fun out of this wonderful restaurant business than anyone
who has gone before."
~ Ti Adelaide Martin


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IN MEMORIAM


Jamie Shannon, 1961-2001

 

Recipe Source

Commander's Kitchen:
Take Home the True Taste
of New Orleans with More
than 150 Recipes from
Commander's Palace Restaurant
by Ty Adelaide Martin and Jamie Shannon
2000, Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Alibris

Unfortunately, time and space prevent our being able to bring to you today the
entire "top ten" list from Tom Fitzmorris' New Orleans Menu Daily tribute to deceased Chef Jamie Shannon of Commander's Palace.  Tom's # 1 pick
(Salt-Crusted Whole Baked Redfish) appears in our tribute to Chef Jamie
Shannon
Spice Cabinet feature.
Numbers 2, 3 and 4, are Chef Jamie's Special Lunch. According to Tom,
"It was about twice the price of the standard Commander's lunch, and worth
every penny. Example: seared foie gras (this was before everybody was
serving it), crab cakes made of solid crabmeat held together in a hash-
brown ring until serving, and real shortcake with strawberries."

For today, we present to you, in all their glory, numbers 5 (Lyonnaise fish)
and 6 (Air-dried duck).  Or at least a close substitute, and in any case, a truly
excellent Commander's duck recipe. It is both our extreme pleasure and honor
to salute, once again, the incomparable, the inimitable, Chef Jamie Shannon.

 

Shoestring Potato-Crusted Lyonnaise Fish

Makes 6 servings

“We put this dish on the Commander’s menu as a special and it just took off. Now
it’s what we call a new classic. But it shouldn’t have been a surprise, considering how moist the fish turns out and New Orleanians’ love affair with shoestring potatoes. The trick to moist fish and a crispy potato crust is simple – the potatoes
do it. The heat from the water in the potatoes steams the fish while it crisps the potatoes. The dramatic texture contrast and the moist fish, which has retained
all its juices, make this a scene-stealer. For a lighter version, skip the Beurre
blanc and serve with sliced Creole or vine-ripened tomatoes or over greens.”

4 large russet potatoes
6 fish fillets (speckled trout, snapper, catfish, or flounder),
each 5 to 6 ounces, of even thickness, and free of bones
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2/3 cup milk
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 cup white wine
2 lemons, peeled, white pith removed, and quartered
5 cloves garlic, peeled
6 whole black peppercorns
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup toasted capers (see Note)
1 large onion, sliced, then caramelized (see Note)

Peel the potatoes and cut them into a fine shoestring (see Chef Jamie’s
Tips), with each piece about 2 inches long, 1/8 inch wide, and 1/16 inch
thick. Place the potatoes in a bowl of cold water and rinse until the water
runs clear.
Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and dust in seasoned flour,
shaking away any excess flour. Combine the milk, eggs, and additional
salt and pepper, and place the fish in the egg wash.
Remove the potatoes from the water, and drain them, using a clean dish
towel to squeeze out any excess water. Place a thin layer of potatoes,
enough to coat one side of all the fillets, on a work surface. Place the fish
on top of the potatoes, then place a layer of potatoes on top of the fish, covering it completely.
To make the sauce, put the wine, garlic and peppercorns in a small sauce-
pan over high heat, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a high simmer.
Use a whisk to break up the lemon sections. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes, or
until the liquid starts to thicken. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the
butter, about 4 tablespoons at a time. Make sure the sauce doesn’t
separate, which will happen if the heat is too high. Whisk constantly,
watching to keep a very warm temperature. Continue adding butter until
it has all been incorporated, waiting to add more butter after the previous addition has been incorporated. Season with salt, strain, and keep the
sauce warm.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over high heat in a large nonstick skillet for 2
to 3 minutes, or until it just begins to smoke. With a spatula, gently place 3
fish fillets in the pan, and reduce the heat to medium high. The fish might
stick at first, but don’t move it; as the potatoes cook, their starch will turn
to sugar and the fish will come free.
Using the spatula, push any loose potato pieces up against the fish, but break away pieces that have turned very dark and crisp without adhering. Reduce
the heat if the potato starts to burn. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the
crust is golden and crisp. Gently turn the fish pieces over, reshaping with
the spatula as necessary. Cook 4 to 5 minutes more, or until golden and
crisp. Flip again, and recrisp the first side for about 30 seconds. Remove, adjust seasoning, and keep warm on a rack. Wipe the pan with a paper
towel and repeat with the second batch of fish fillets.
To serve, pool about 2 1/2 tablespoons of sauce on a warm plate, place a
fish fillet on top, and sprinkle the capers and onions around the plate.

NOTE:  Toasted capers have been cooked in a little hot oil over high heat until
they become crisp. Caramelized onions are chopped onions that have been cooked
in a little butter over high heat until their natural sugars cause them to brown;
they should drain on a paper towel when they’re crisp. If you wish, prepare both
in the same pan, using butter.

Chef Jamie’s Tips:  Use a box grater to cut the potatoes, holding the potato the
long way so you get the longest pieces. If you have a mandoline, that works
well, too. A mandoline is a hand-operated machine that can be fitted with
different blades for different uses and cuts. At Commander’s, we use both
French (metal) and Japanese (plastic) mandolines in the kitchen.
When making the lemon butter sauce, be sure the heat isn’t too high when
adding butter or the sauce can break. Adjust the heat as you add the butter,
if needed. If the sauce becomes too thick, that means it’s not hot enough, so
add a little more heat.

 

Crispy Roast Duck with Roasted Vegetables
and Orange Brandy Sauce

Makes 4 servings

“La Tour d’Argent in Paris has one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful
duck presses. It also has a view of the Seine. The ambiance and the elaborate
duck preparation are hard to beat. But if you don’t happen to be in Paris and
you don’t have time to hang your ducks for two weeks as we do, then this
recipe is one heck of a good substitute.”

1 Long Island duck, about 5 pounds
1 quart cold water
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in half crosswise
2 medium turnips, peeled and halved
4 large new potatoes, halved
8 shiitake mushrooms, trimmed of their stems
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small onions, peeled and halved, or 12 pearl onions
Juice of 1 large orange
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup brandy

Thoroughly rinse the duck giblets, including liver and neck, place in a large
pot with 1 quart of cold water over high heat, season lightly with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Trim excess fat from the duck, especially around the neck and inside the cavity, and prick with the tines of a kitchen fork just deeply enough to penetrate the skin and fat, especially where the fat is concentrated. Make
a one-inch incision under each leg bone where it meets the backbone.
(You’ll see a lot of fat at this spot.)
Place the duck, carrots, turnips, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic and onions
in the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue simmering for about
40 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked but still firm and the duck
seems cooked but not overcooked. Gently remove the duck and the
vegetables, set aside, and let cool for about 30 minutes. Remove the
giblets, and set aside. Transfer the cooking liquid to a bowl and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the duck with some of the
orange juice, and season with salt, pepper, and half the chopped rosemary.
Place the giblets and neck in the center of a roasting pan and, using them
as a rack, place the duck on top so that it does not touch the bottom of
the pan. Gently arrange the vegetables around the duck, and place the
pan in the oven. Roast until the skin is very crisp, about 45 to 50 minutes,
or until the internal temperature of the duck reads 165 degrees F. on an
instant read thermometer, checking periodically to make sure the duck is
not burning.
When finished, place the duck in the center of a serving platter and place
the vegetables neatly around the duck. Pick the meat from the neck, dice
the giblets, and pour off the fat remaining in the pan. Remove the cooking liquid from the refrigerator and discard any fat that has floated to the
surface.
Place the roasting pan over two burners on top of the stove over high
heat. Add the remaining rosemary and the brandy, being careful of a
possible flareup. Using a wooden spoon, scrape off any glaze that may
be on the bottom of the pan. Add the cooking liquid and the remaining
orange juice, bring to a boil, then simmer to reduce for about 10 minutes,
until the liquid has reached a saucelike consistency.
Strain the sauce into a small pot, add the reserved neck and innards meat,
and season with salt and pepper.
Carve the duck, and serve the sauce in a separate bowl on the side, not
poured over the crispy duck skin.

Chef Jamie’s Tips:  At Commander’s Palace, we use fresh Muscovy ducks. You
can use any domestic duck for this recipe (about half of them are Long Island
ducks). Fresh ducks can be hard to find, but don’t let a frozen bird stop you. I
always use a Grade A duck. The blanching of the duck and vegetables can be
done up to a day in advance.
Chilling the cooking liquid lets unwanted fat rise to the top. That’s why a
wide bowl works so well; the liquid cools fast and there is a large surface.
Vegetables should be brown and very tender. Be careful not to break them up.


Featured Archive Recipes:
In Memoriam - Chef Jamie Shannon
Brasserie Flo’s Roast Duck with
Tomatoes, Olives and Mushrooms

Commander's Kitchen

 
More Lagniappe Recipes!
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