Friday, April 14, 2017

Recipes by Rex Reed: Lemon Ice Box Pie; Shrimp Gumbo

Rex Reed's Lemon Ice Box Pie

For the crust:
20 vanilla wafers, crushed and crumbled
1 1/2 tbsps. sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

1. Combine crumbs and sugar in mixing bowl. Stir in melted butter and mix well.

2. Press firmly into bottom and sides of an 8-inch pie plate. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F. oven 7 mins. Cool.

For the filling:
1 can condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
finely grated rind of 1 1/2 lemons
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
dash salt

1. Blend condensed milk, lemon juice and 2/3 of the lemon rind. Add egg yolks and mix well. Pour into cooled pie shell.

2. Beat egg whites and salt until almost stiff. Gradually add sugar beating until mixture is stiff and fluffy. Pile meringue lightly over filled pie shell. Sprinkle top with remaining lemon rind. Bake in preheated 325 degrees F. oven until top begins to turn brown. Serves 6.

Rex Reed's Shrimp Gumbo

3 tbsps. vegetable oil
3 tbsps. flour
3 cups sliced, stemmed fresh okra
2 chopped scallions (white part only)
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery
2 heaping tbsps. minced parsley
1 1/2 tsps. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
8-10 drops Tabasco (or cayenne to taste)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Large pinch of thyme
2 large bay leaves
3 tbsps. chopped ham
2 lbs. green (raw) shrimp, peeled end deveined
2 lbs. fresh king crab legs (or 1 lb. raw crab meat)
Gumbo filé powder

1. Heat oil and flour in 4-quart pressure saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring mixture (roux) until almost black. Add okra, scallions, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until vegetables soften slightly. Add chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, thyme, bay leaves and ham. Heat to simmer.

2. Add shrimp and king crab meat (cut leg with scissors to remove meat, discard shell or use large chunks of fresh raw crab meat). Mix well.

3. Close cover securely. Cook 4 minutes. Cool cooker at once. Remove cover and stir. Taste to correct seasonings. Serve at once over fluffy cooked rice flavored with snipped parsley. Sprinkle filé powder over gumbo at the table. Serve with hot garlic French bread, green salad and tall glasses of iced tea. Serves 4-6.

Thoughts: Rex's shrimp gumbo will win paeans! For late summer cooking, pressure cooker saucepan reduces time and heat in the kitchen. If preferred, use a deep iron skillet, increase liquid to about 2 quarts, cook vegetable-stock mixture until thickened (about 45 minutes) before adding seafood. Add seafood and cook until shrimp begins to turn coral. Adjust seasonings, increasing slightly to taste.

Rex advises, "First you must make the roux: that's the first thing my mother taught me! Then, you learn everything else about Southern cooking! Never add tomatoes to the gumbo. Filé powder (dried sassafras leaves used to flavor and thicken stock, is available at gourmet section of supermarkets or food specialty shops) may be added at the end of the cooking time, but filé should never be cooked into the gumbo or it gets ropey in appearance." Gumbo made without filé can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated to serve.

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