Tailgating Time 2021
The late Frank Spence was one of the most gifted raconteurs I ever had the pleasure to know. The ebullient Nashville native, deeply Irish-American, became a familiar face in professional sports with lofty positions as a front office executive with the Atlanta Braves and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He was attuned to college sports as well where he became an observer of Tailgating, the popular imaginative food enjoyed before kickoff. Spence sampled these treats from Baton Rouge to Tallahassee, Athens to Tuscaloosa and became my go-to guy for dishes that deserved to be shared.
The kickoff of football season is days away. Tailgating is part of the experience. It’s a few hours ’til game time. Let’s eat!
Kickoff Grilled Shrimp
For the Marinade
? cup Extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons
4 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup packed chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the Shrimp
2 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tbsp of the marinade in a separate bowl for later.
Pat the shrimp dry and season with kosher salt. Place the shrimp in a large bowl and pour the marinade all over. Toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Thread the shrimp on skewers, about 4 large shrimp per skewer. (If using bamboo skewers they need to be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes first).
To grill on an outdoor gas grill. Preheat a gas grill to high. Then, reduce heat to low (temperature should be somewhere between 275 to 325ºF). Carefully grease the cooking grates. Once the grill reaches the recommended temperature, add the shrimp skewers and close the lid. Cook shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until no longer translucent.
Transfer the grilled shrimp skewers to platter and spoon the remaining marinade your reserved earlier over the grilled shrimp skewers. Add a splash of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Southern Lobster Rolls
4 Florida lobster tails
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
4 hot-dog rolls, top sliced (the softer, the better)
2 tbsp. butter
Preheat broiler. Split lobster tails, and brush each tail with one tablespoon of melted cilantro-lime butter (recipe below). Broil until just cooked (opaque, firm to touch), remove meat from shell, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before chopping into bite-sized chunks.
In a medium nonreactive bowl (glass or porcelain), mix lobster, celery, lemon juice, chili pepper, chives, and mayonnaise; season with salt and pepper, and add more mayonnaise, if desired. Refrigerate for a few minutes before serving.
Butter the hot-dog rolls and fry on a skillet on medium-low heat until golden brown; do this slowly to avoid burning the butter. Add lobster salad, sprinkle with paprika.
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
½ lime, juiced and zested
Pinch of salt and pepper
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with a rubber spatula. Use immediately or refrigerate
Gridiron Crabcake Eggs Benedict
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
Pinch of red chile flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon flour
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 pound cooked crabmeat
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Pink salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups panko for coating
6 to 8 large eggs (to match the number of crabcakes)
3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup warm, melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Crabcakes: Melt butter in a large frying pan over low heat. Add garlic, celery, and onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add chile flakes and flour and cook, stirring, until flour smells toasted, about 30 seconds. Stir in cream and parsley. Remove from heat and let mixture cool.
Meanwhile, gently squeeze water from crab over a colander. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, egg yolk, mustard, salt, and black pepper. Stir in 1/3 cup panko, the crab, and cream mixture.
Put about 2 cups panko on a large plate. Form crab mixture into scant 1/2- or 1/3-cup patties (for 6 or 8 crabcakes, respectively). One at a time, set patties in panko, press lightly to help bread crumbs adhere, and turn with a thin metal spatula; press lightly on second side. Transfer to a large plate, cover, and chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Meanwhile, poach eggs: Bring a large, deep frying pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Crack 1 egg into a glass measuring cup, hold spout close to water’s surface, and let egg slip gently into water. Repeat with rest of eggs. Cook until eggs are softly set, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer as done to a large bowl of ice and cold water.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook crabcakes, turning only once, until dark golden brown on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. (If making 8 crabcakes, you may need to cook in batches; if so, wipe out pan and add a fresh 3 tbsp. oil for second batch.) Transfer to a plate and put in a 200° oven to keep warm.
Make hollandaise sauce: Set a bowl of lukewarm water to the side of stove. Add yolks to a slightly smaller bowl, then set bowl of yolks over (but not touching) a saucepan of barely simmering water (lift bowl periodically to check that water is not boiling). Whisk in lemon juice, mustard, hot sauce, salt, and white pepper. Whisking constantly, drizzle in melted butter–a few drops at first, then in a thin, slow stream, until incorporated. Keep whisking until thick enough for the whisk to leave faint trails. Set bowl in bowl of lukewarm water and cover; whisk occasionally until ready to serve.
Reheat poached eggs: Immerse eggs in water that’s just hot to touch (but not hot enough to cook them further) until they feel warm, about 5 minutes. Lift each out with a slotted spoon and rest, still in spoon, on paper towels for a moment to drain briefly.
Put crabcakes on plates and slip a poached egg on each. Spoon about 1 1/2 tbsp. hollandaise sauce on top of each, and sprinkle with chives.
Make ahead: Crabcakes, through step 2, up to 1 day, chilled. Poached eggs, up to 1 day, covered and chilled in water. Hollandaise sauce, up to 1 hour at room temperature, covered. To reheat sauce, set the bowl over a saucepan of warm (120°) water and gently rewarm for 5 minutes, whisking every now and then.
Sir Verde’s Wine and Drinks Suggestions: These tempting dishes pair best with a quality white wine. It’s time for Viognier and I cannot say enough about King Estate Quail Run Vineyards 2019. A classic Rhone-style from Oregon. Cocktails? It’s football weekend and Bloody Marys are welcomed.
Bonne dégustation. Love One Another!