Plate Lab Jun 4, 2015
These are not yeasted puffs, yet they are airy on the inside, with chewy bits and a crisp exterior. The batter comes together easily.
Several kinds of seafood, as well as vegetables, can be used instead of the crawfish.
Serve with an aioli for dipping.
Make Ahead: The batter, without the seafood or parsley, can be covered with plastic wrap (placed directly on the surface) and refrigerated for up to 1 day. It will thicken; that is okay, as the moisture in the last-minute addition of seafood will help loosen it.
Tested size: 5-6 servings; makes 25 to 30 pieces
- 3 cups flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 1/3 cup lightly packed, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, patted dry with paper towels
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk or 2 percent milk
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 1/2 pounds cooked, chopped, defrosted crawfish meat (may substitute peeled/deveined, chopped raw small or rock shrimp or calamari; crabmeat; julienne carrots; cauliflower, or broccoli)
- Vegetable oil or peanut oil, for frying
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, citrus zests and parsley in a mixing bowl. (If you plan to refrigerate the batter for a day, wait to add the parsley, as its moisture will affect the batter's consistency.)
Whisk together the milk and eggs in a separate bowl, then stir that mixture into the flour mixture to form a thick batter. Pour in the butter and stir just until incorporated; the batter will become shiny. (At this point, the batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface.)
Pat the crawfish meat dry with paper towels, then stir it in just until evenly distributed.
Pour oil into a heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of at least 4 inches. Heat over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Use two soup spoons to drop walnut-size dollops of batter into the hot oil, cooking no more than 6 at a time. Fry for 6 to 8 minutes or until they are deeply browned and just cooked through. Transfer to the rack; immediately sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat to use all the batter.
From Christophe and Michelle Poteaux, chef-owners of Bastille Restaurant in Alexandria.