All-American Gourmet

Seafood Jubilee Macaroni & Cheese

The traditional side gets a coastal twist when infused with fresh-from-the-Gulf shrimp and crabmeat. Substitute crawfish for a Cajun kick.

salt, to taste 
1 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 pound shrimp, boiled, deheaded, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, rinsed, drained and picked over for shells
4 cups (1 pound) mixed grated cheeses, such as Parmesan,  cheddar, Swiss and fontina
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni 2 minutes less than al dente. Drain; rinse with cold water. Set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a medium bowl and reserve. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook until softened, 3 – 5 minutes. Add flour. Cook and continue stirring for 1 minute. Add milk; whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Cook 2 – 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove pan from heat.
3. Fold seafood, pasta and cheese into butter mixture; transfer to a shallow 4-quart baking dish. 
4. To prepare topping, add breadcrumbs and Creole seasoning to the bowl with the reserved butter. Toss, and scatter over macaroni mixture. Place dish on a baking sheet. 
5. Bake 15 – 20 minutes, until topping is golden and sauce is bubbling. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6 – 8.

Truffle Pancetta Macaroni & Cheese 

This sophisticated, petite pasta dish, featuring The Happy Olive’s black truffle oil, is savory decadence at its absolute best. For more intense flavor, use black truffle oil; for a milder version, select white truffle oil.

- Sponsors -

1 tablespoon kosher salt     
1/2 pound penne pasta     
1 tablespoon black truffle oil (available at The Happy Olive)    
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons butter     
2 tablespoons shallots, minced 
6 ounces pancetta, chopped into small pieces
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced basil
1/3 teaspoon minced thyme
black pepper, to taste
4 cups shredded white sharp cheddar, divided 
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1. Spray 6 small ramekins with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. In a large pot, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil, then add salt. Add pasta, stir and boil for 5 – 6 minutes, turn off heat and drain water through a colander, gently shaking off excess water. Pasta will be cooked less than al dente. 
3. Transfer pasta to a bowl and toss with truffle oil. Set aside.
4. Heat a 4-quart stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the butter, and when melted, add the shallots and pancetta. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook another 2 – 3 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the flour and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. While still stirring, slowly add the cream. Raise heat until mixture almost reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook another 10 minutes.
5. Add the basil, thyme and pepper to mixture. Then add 3 cups white cheddar cheese, stirring until smooth. Add pasta and combine.
6. Distribute mixture evenly into ramekins. Top with remaining cup of shredded cheddar and chopped pecans. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until tops are browned. Serves 6.

Spinach Madeleine Macaroni & Cheese

Enjoy this creamy dish in its comfort-food glory, or lighten it up by substituting 2 percent milk and cutting back the cheese.

3 slices white bread, crusts removed
9 tablespoons unsalted butter,  melted and divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
8 ounces elbow macaroni 
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
4 cups grated Gruyère cheese 
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 large shallots, finely chopped
18 ounces baby spinach
8 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1 3/4 cups crumbled feta (We used Elberta’s Sweet Home Farm.)

1. Tear bread into small pieces and put in food processor bowl. Pulse until finely ground. 
2. In a small bowl combine breadcrumbs with 3 tablespoons melted butter. 
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, set aside. 
4. Put remaining butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly add milk, still whisking, and cook 10 – 15 minutes until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. 
5. Remove from heat. Stir in Gruyère, cinnamon and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add shallots. Cook, stirring often, for 3 – 4 minutes. Add spinach and scallions and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in cream mixture, dill and pasta. 
7. Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture and feta over top. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8 – 10.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Truffle Fries

These fancy little pick-ups satisfy salty cravings. If you’re pressed for time, forgo homemade fries for high-quality frozen.

canola oil 
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes,  cut into 1/3-inch-thick lengthwise slices and then into 1/3-inch-wide sticks
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon black truffle oil (available at The Happy Olive)    
2 tablespoons grated pepato asiago cheese (We used Elberta’s Sweet Home Farm. You may substitute Parmesan.)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 slices very thinly sliced prosciutto
Sriracha Ketchup (see recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
2. In heavy, deep saucepan or fryer, heat 3 inches of oil over high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Pat potatoes dry to prevent splattering.
3. In several batches, fry potatoes until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. 
4. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove fries from hot oil; transfer to paper towels to drain. 
5. Once drained, transfer to a baking pan in oven while frying remaining potatoes to keep warm. 
6. In a large bowl, mix together parsley, truffle oil, pepato asiago or Parmesan cheese,   salt and pepper. 
7. Sprinkle mixture on top of fries. (They may be fragile.)  
8. Gather up bundle of fries, wrap with a slice of prosciutto. 
9. Serve bundles warm with Sriracha Ketchup for dipping. Serves 8.

Sriracha Ketchup 

6 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce

1. In a small bowl, mix together ketchup and sriracha until they are thoroughly combined.
2. Taste for heat level and adjust the spiciness of the sauce according to personal preference. Makes 1/2 cup.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries

These loaded potatoes are a meal on their own. Perfect for gameday, they’re sure to unite Tide and Tiger fans alike on Iron Bowl day. If you want to go the extra mile, make fries from scratch using steps 1 – 5 of Prosciutto-Wrapped Truffle Fries.

1 bag of frozen pre-cut French fries, such as Alexia’s
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (We used a supermarket rotisserie chicken.) 
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped chives

1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven according to directions on French fries’ package. 
2. Bake on a baking sheet according to package directions, removing from oven about 3 minutes before fully cooked. 
3. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, dill, salt and cayenne. 
4. Toss chicken in ranch dressing to coat. Return to baking pan.
5. Top fries with the chicken, cheddar, mozzarella and bacon. 
6. Return to the oven until the cheese melts, 3 – 5 minutes. Top with chives. Serve immediately. Serves 4. 

Lime-Ale Dog 

Heat lovers will rave over this dog with jalapeño salsa and FBC brew. 

1 pint red and yellow cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup diced green onions 
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeds removed and finely diced
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 limes
1 ounce Fairhope Brewing Co. Everyday Ale beer
8 hot dogs 
1 avocado, mashed
8 hot dog buns, split and toasted
1/2 cup shredded Sweet Home Farm Bama Jack cheese (May substitute Monterey Jack.)
Chipotle Ranch (see recipe below)

1. For salsa: In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, onions, cilantro and half the jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper; set in refrigerator.
2. To prepare lime-ale cooking liquid, cut one lime in half; juice both halves, retaining halves. In a large skillet, combine beer, remaining jalapeño, lime juice and halves. Bring to simmer. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium.
3. Place hot dogs in lime-ale liquid. Simmer uncovered until plump, about 7 minutes. Remove hot dogs; discard cooking liquid and solids. Transfer dogs to grill. Cook until desired doneness.
4. Spread avocado in buns. Place hot dogs on top. Add salsa and cheese. Drizzle with Chipotle Ranch sauce. Cut remaining lime in wedges; serve alongside. Makes 8 hot dogs.

Chipotle Ranch

1 cup ranch dressing
2 tablespoons minced chipotles in adobe, or to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine dressing and chipotles. Store in refrigerator. Makes 1 cup.

L.A. Mango Dog

A little bit tropical, a little bit down-home, just like Lower Alabama.

1 mango, peeled and diced 
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
1/4 cup diced purple onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
pinch of salt
6 hot dogs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
6 Hawaiian sweet mini sub rolls

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. 
3. Grill hot dogs until cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes.
4. Combine butter and poppy seeds. Brush over tops of buns. Toast in oven. 
5. Place hot dogs in buns, top with mango salsa. Makes 6 hot dogs.

Reuben Dog

This ooey-gooey twist on Fairhope’s favorite sandwich is a crowd-pleaser.

8 hot dogs
8 hot dog buns
8 slices pastrami
1 small can sauerkraut
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing 

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grill hot dogs until cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes.
3. Place open buns on a baking sheet. Spread Thousand Island dressing on bun (or drizzle on top at the end) followed by sauerkraut.
4. Wrap each hot dog in pastrami and place in a bun. Top with Swiss cheese.
5. Heat hot dogs in the oven until cheese melts, for approximately 3 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 8 hot dogs.

Cowboy Conecuh Dog 

Robertsdale’s rodeo scene meets Bellingrath’s Coca-Cola roots in a savory, sweet frank.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion,  chopped
1 pound Conecuh sausage,  sliced into 6-inch “dogs”
4 – 6 hot dog buns 
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Coca-Cola Barbecue Sauce (see recipe below)

1. Heat grill to medium heat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring until golden and tender.
3. Grill sausage dogs until slightly charred, about 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
4. Toast buns in oven about 3 minutes, until lightly browned.
5. Place sausage in buns. Top with onions, bacon and cheese. Drizzle sauce on top. Makes 4 – 6 hot dogs.

Coca-Cola Barbecue Sauce 

1 cup Coca-Cola Classic
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 
3 tablespoons steak sauce (We used A-1.)    
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
salt, to taste

1. Combine Coca-Cola, ketchup, Worcestershire, steak sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, onion flakes, garlic powder and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 6 – 8 minutes, until sauce is reduced by a quarter. If desired, add salt to taste.
2. Use immediately or transfer to a jar, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Sauce will keep for several months. Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups.

photos by Jennie Tewell

Get the best of Mobile delivered to your inbox

Be the first to know about local events, home tours, restaurant reviews and more!