"As for my last meal, I would eat fresh tuna, shrimp and oysters from the Gulf."
Chip Pickering - Former Republican Congressman
Over a quarter of deathrow requests on ChowFu has to do with seafood, and who can blame them?! When Chip added his vote to the litiny of seafood loving celebrities, we wanted to highlight each of his beautiful ingredients separately. As a result, we simultaneously worked on three easy and delicious recipes to satisfy a congressman's hunger.
Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida represent the states bordering the Gulf Coast of the United States. During the early 1900s, the US acquired territory from the French in the Louisiana Purchase and, coupled with the Texas Revolution against Mexico several decades later, jump started frontier expansion into the Southern parts of the country. Today, this area represents one of the primary drivers of the US fish and shrimp industries. We'll give homage to the flavors of the region by doing a classic seafood boil, and then adding on some freshly shucked oysters coupled with a lightly seared, sesame crusted piece of tuna as a hearty side dish. You'll want to come hungry for this one!
Seafood boils have been popular along the gulf coast for as long as people could remember. Regional variations dictate which type of seafood is highlighted, from shrimp and crawfish to crab and clams, seafood boils often served as a way to bring a community together during summer holidays. While author Walter Issacson prefers the classic crawfish boil for his final meal, Chip goes for the famous shrimp of the Gulf. Throw in some potatoes, corn and sausages, and we're ready for a delicious backyard retreat. Since our NYC headquarters (aka our condo) has a population of 2, we'll forgo the 50 gallon pot and aim for a more family friendly version of the shrimp boil, using a Dutch oven to do most of the cooking. Besides, there's two other dishes we have to save room for.
Also commonly known as Ahi Tuna, the yellowfin tuna is found in many parts of the Gulf, with the main concentrations being in the open sea away from shore. These are the large beasts of the ocean that can weigh upwards of 400 pounds. In terms of food, they are often served raw or lightly seared, with the No. 1 "Sashimi-grade" being the highest rating in freshness and fat content. For our purposes, we'll highlight the fish by doing an easy sesame crust followed by a fast sear in the pan to preserve the true flavors of the animal.
What else can we say about oysters that hasn't already been said? We won't expound on the love we have for oysters, but we recommend you head over to our blog on author Ken Follett, found HERE, which goes into more detail than you may need when it comes to our favorite mollucs.