Smoked Eel, Smoked Sturgeon, and Choupique Caviar Salad with Dilled Buttermilk Dressing

Choupique caviar is the roe of the Bowfin, a bony, prehistoric, fresh water fish indigenous to South Louisiana. "Choupique" is the Cajun[ name for the Bowfin, and the fish's naturally black eggs resemble that of the sturgeon, with a distinctive, lively flavor. Should you use this roe in other recipes, be forewarned that Choupique caviar turns red when heated or cooked. If you're feeling extravagant, use Beluga or Sevruga caviar instead of the Choupique. Salmon roe also makes a great substitute.]

Total Time:
50 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
30 min

Yield:
4 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • Essence, recipe follows
  • 1/2 pound smoked eel, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces smoked sturgeon, flaked
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Dilled Buttermilk Dressing, recipe follows
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce (about 8 ounces), core removed, quartered, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 ounce Choupique caviar, or salmon roe
  • Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Dilled Buttermilk Dressing:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Directions

Preheat a fryer to 360 degrees F.

Season the flour with Essence and place in a shallow dish. Dredge the eel in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.

Fry the eel until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine the sturgeon, onions, chives, vinegar, oil, some of the Buttermilk Dill Dressing, salt, and pepper, and toss gently.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper, and drizzle over the lettuces. Place 1/4 head of lettuce on each of 4 large salad plates. Arrange the sturgeon mixture over the lettuce. Top with the fried eel. Drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Place 1 teaspoon of the caviar in the center and serve.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Dilled Buttermilk Dressing:

To make the dressing, combine the egg and dill in the bowl of a food processor and process on high speed for 15 seconds. With the machine running, add the oil in a thin stream and process until it forms an emulsion. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups


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