Louisiana Seafood Mixed Grill

Chef Tory McPhail

Grilled Black Drum, Wild Shrimp, and Blue Crab Over Sliced Creole Tomatoes, Basil, and Grilled Corn Butter


2 large ripe Creole or heirloom tomatoes, sliced thin
1 ounce chiffonade of basil leaves
1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
4 ears sweet corn
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
3 ounces butter, in all
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
2 ounces Jack Daniels
2 ounces heavy cream
1/2 pound jumbo lump Louisiana blue crab, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, picked from stem
1 pound black drum filets
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1/3 pound white Louisiana shrimp, head on,(U/10 count) or 4 whole shrimp
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 ounce basil oil
1/4 ounce chili oil
1/4 ounce herbs or micro sprouts, for garnish


Preheat a gas grill, charcoal grill, or grill pan to medium heat.
Method for the tomatoes: Choose 2 ripe Creole or heirloom tomatoes for this dish. You can remove the skin if you choose but it’s not necessary. Slice each tomato into 6 even slices, discarding the core and the ends, and shingle them out onto a baking sheet. Season both sides of the tomato with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice. Chiffonade the basil leaves and sprinkle across the top of the tomatoes. Set aside.
Method for the corn: Remove the husk and silk from the ears of corn and lightly season with salt and white pepper. Place on the grill and cook on all sides for 5 minutes or until the corn is cooked to a light golden brown color. Remove from the grill and place into a medium salad bowl.
When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cob using a serrated knife. Using the back of the knife, scrape the corn milk from the cobs into the bowl with the kernels and set to the side. Discard the cobs.
Place a medium sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add 1 of the 3 ounces of butter to the pan and swirl. Add the shallots and continue to swirl for 30 seconds. Add the corn and corn milk and season with salt and white pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, deglaze with Jack Daniels, return to the heat and flambé carefully. When flames subside, add the cream and reduce to sauce consistency.
Fold in the jumbo lump blue crab, add the thyme and cook for 1 more minute. Swirl in the last 2 ounces of butter, check the seasoning, and set aside to keep warm.
Method for the seafood: Portion the drum into 4 equal pieces, ensuring there is no skin, scales, or bones on the filets. Season on both sides with Creole seasoning and reserve.
Remove the shells from the shrimp, leaving the heads and tails on but exposing the meat in the middle. Using a sharp paring knife, devein and rinse the body of all impurities, then season with the Creole seasoning and set to the side.
Lightly brush the grill with vegetable oil and place the drum and the shrimp on the grill and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on each side or until just cooked. Take extra care to never overcook the seafood.
To assemble the dish: Spread out 4 hot entrée plates that have been pre-warmed in an oven. On each plate, fan out 3 slices of tomato. Place 1 piece of drum on top of that. Add 1 shrimp to the top of the drum. Remove the large pieces of jumbo lump crab from the pan and place it over the top of the shrimp. Spoon the remainder of the sauce over the shrimp and around the outside of the plate. Drizzle on the basil and hot chili oil, and garnish the plates with the picked fresh herbs or micro sprouts.

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