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Pass the Cookbook: Seafood in Saffron Cream

This month the Pass the Cookbook crew - under the leadership of Kita, the culinary force behind Pass the Sushi - is cooking from Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker. The cookbook was intended to connect people who lost their favorite family recipes when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. The recipes are assembled from local papers that people had clipped and saved throughout the years. After the hurricane, people were hunting for their saved recipes, submitted comments and questions, and other readers did their best to match up the recipes. This book is a collection of some of those. For that reason alone, it is an amazing publication. 

As always in this group, we had the choice of three recipes. Our selections this round: Chicken-Sausage Jambalaya, Crawfish in Saffon Cream, or Bananas Foster Pie. I decided to adapt the crawfish option, making a Seafood in Saffron Cream. I skipped the sherry and vermouth, swapping in Liquore Strega - a saffron liqueur - and a Sauvignon Blanc. Also, I chose to use a mixture of seafood instead of trying to get my hands on crawfish!

6 T butter
¼ C minced shallots
½ C minced onion
½ C minced fennel bulb
1 C mushrooms (I used porcini, oyster, Forest namenko, and woodear)
2 pinches of saffron
¼ C Liquore Strega
½ C Sauvignon Blanc
1 C organic heavy cream
3 T fresh parsley, minced 
1 lb mixed seafood (I used scallops, shrimps, and squid)
dash of ground paprika
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
hot, cooked rice for serving (I used black Forbidden rice)

Melt the butter in a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the shallots, onions, and fennel. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, put the saffron in the Sauvignon Blanc and stir. Let stand for a few minutes, then add to the pan with the Strega. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Pour in the cream and fold in the parsley. Cook to reduce the sauce until slightly thickened. Add the seafood and cook till opaque. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika. Serve over rice.


  1. What a beautiful take on this recipe! I think the saffron sauce works well over any seafood and can't wait to try it again over scallops! And I love that you used Liquore Strega. You really took this one to a whole new level!

  2. This came out lovely! I love the changes that you made to this recipe!!

  3. I think the seafood medley is brilliant. Sounds like a really delicious meal. I love this "club" because we get so many great recipes to try.

  4. I gave up on the crawfish too but didn't think of just switching out other seafood. This sounds lovely!

  5. Oh my gosh, I wish I could have put my head over the pot while this was cooking and just inhaled. I bet the aromas were amazing. It looks delicious.


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