Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crappie With Shrimp In Lemon Scampi Sauce & Nicoise-Like Salad

I’ve said many times that my favorite cookbook is your blogs and I have way too many saved, which is why I’ve been trying to make them soon after your posting so they don’t get lost.  When I saw these two recently I immediately put them in the schedule and it worked perfectly as storm Yogi was moving thru and it was too rainy to work outside.

Dennis from “A Culinary Journey With Chef Dennis” commented that he is not a big fish eater, but his dishes always look sooo good and his Sea Bass With Shrimp In Lemon Scampi Sauce is no exception.  Check out his fine blog for some great photos and the complete recipe, which I followed (except the screw up) and I subbed crappie from the freezer for the bass.

The vegetable and starch part of the meal came from the salad which was inspired by Tricia’s post over at Saving Room For Dessert for Vegetable Nicoise Salad – check out her very nice blog for the recipe and great photos.  

I’d never had the salad so did a little research to discover that there are several versions but it’s basically greens and vegetables (green beans and tomatoes for sure) topped with tuna, anchovies, and a vinaigrette and since mine has no tuna or green beans, I’ve called it a nicoise-like salad.  I used the vinaigrette recipe from Simply Recipes as it was very similar to Tricia’s but contained shallots, which I like.

Vinaigrette – copied from Simply Recipes
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

1¼ lb. waxy potatoes, large cubes
6 hard boiled eggs, quartered
Big handful  asparagus spears from the garden
3 med. tomatoes, cut onto wedges
½ cup Kalamata olives
Most of a jar marinated artichoke hearts       
2-3 tbsp. capers, rinsed
3 anchovies (just for me)
Small red onion, thinly sliced

1. Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot.  Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender.  Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.  I used the same bowl to toss everything.
2. Bring the water to a boil again, add the asparagus, and cook for 3-4 minutes (depending on size), remove from water with tongs and add to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.  When cool, dry and toss with 3 tbsp. of the vinaigrette.
3. Toss the lettuce leaves with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette and arrange them on a platter.
4. Gently toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Arrange everything on the lettuce bed and drizzle the eggs with vinaigrette.  Sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), any remaining vinaigrette, as needed, and serve immediately.

I had too much stuff for the platter so it wasn't very pretty.

Plate the fish and let everyone serve the salad to themselves.

I really liked both dishes, but the fish wasn’t as good as it would have been had the cook done it right.  The recipe was for two servings, but I had fish for five and failed to triple the sauce recipe – duh.  I'd like to say that I had too many things going on at one time or that the cooking happened after a tequila taste test (details in a later post), but the reality is I laid out and printed the recipes while sipping my morning coffee in the peace and comfort of my chair.  Sorry Dennis, but I’ll do better next time.

I had salad the next morning for breakfast and while the lettuce was not as crisp, it was more flavorful than for supper.  Next time, I think I'll go with halved cherry tomatoes, which was my first instinct for this time and make it an hour or so before serving.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/19/13 meal date


  1. This is my kind of food. Although I will admit if I had been tasting tequila before preparing either of these dishes, it would have been a miracle they made it to my table :)

  2. I think it is very pretty! I can't wait to try it with tuna - and I too love shallots. Great post and I love your new look. Hope you have a wonderful week and thanks for the link-love! (P.S. My family won't let me have a drink until dinner is done - I'm such a cheap date)

  3. Well it sure looks great!! I have been there, done that, though, so don't feel bad. I figure as long as it was still edible, you did everything right :)

  4. I agree, Chef Dennis has a great blog with some good recipes. I've bookmarked several myself. This salad looks really good Larry. The photo on the platter looks very inviting.

  5. I thought everything looked good, but I was delighted to read that I'm not the only one who sometimes forgets to adjust recipes.

  6. Wow! It looks flavorful and delicious. I want this for dinner tonight!

  7. I have to disagree. I think that your salad platter if very pretty.

  8. That looks GREAT, Larry. So healthy --and I'll bet it tastes wonderful. I have one blog friend who always puts nothing but fattening recipes on her blog... And many of the things she posts are not healthy for ANYONE ---such as Pralines... Yes, Pralines are delicious IF you like eating SUGAR... But--please!!!!!! You do a nice job of giving us healthy recipes --and I appreciate it.


  9. Larry, Another great looking meal! The salad looks crowded...but I like to view it as really plentiful with lots to pick from. Too bad about the fish...but it still looked good. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  10. Your salad looks mighty fine to me, but my plates and platters are always overstuffed, so that's a normal sight to me. The last time I had crappie I was a child, and couldn't get past the name. I know, some people are fussbudgets, right?

  11. That sounds like something I'd do - find 2 or 3 recipes for the same thing and pick out the best parts of each :) The lemon scampi sounds delicious!

  12. crappie... now that's a fish I haven't heard much of down here but I do remember catching some (or was is sun fish) up in the lakes as a youth... you just cannot go wrong with a lemon caper sauce for fish.
    your salad is awesome and I do like the way that vinaigrette reads. Take care, and lay off the tequila.

  13. I love salad nicoise and I would have enjoyed your version. It sounds like it went well with the seafood.

  14. Now THAT'S a salad that's a meal! Great one, guys.


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