Many people say that alligator, like frog legs, taste like chicken. It does have a mild flavor, firm texture and picks up the flavors of the ingredients it is prepared with. It resembles chicken and the two proteins can be used interchangeably.
Alligator is a very healthy protein. It contains very little fat, making it a great addition to a healthy diet. By law, all alligator meat that you find in stores are farm raised. It is also often tail meat that you will find. I know that many colleges like to grill whole alligator at tailgates on the day their team plays the University of Florida. Today, I am sharing two more traditional recipes using the monster of the swamps.
The idea for this dish was a menu item on a Carnival Cruise. Every night, they put an item on their menu for more adventurous diners to sample. People at our table tried the Alligator Fritters and thought it was a good dish. My issue was that it had very little flavor. When I came home, I decided to make this a Creole dish. Here is my interpretation of that cruise ship dish.
1 pound Alligator tail meat, finely ground
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 Bell Pepper, chopped fine
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Mace
1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Sat
2 large Eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Canola or Peanut Oil
Grind the alligator in a food processor. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic and pulverize with the alligator in the processor. Sift the flour with the baking powder, mace, dry mustard and salt. Combine the beaten eggs and the flour mixture. Add the melted butter and Worcestershire sauce and combine. Add to the alligator mixture and combine. Pour 1-inch of oil into a skillet and heat to 380℉. Drop the batter one tablespoon at a time into the hot oil, turning the fritters over with a slotted spoon as they brown. Remove when browned on all sides and drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, mine would be a Remoulade sauce.
Sauce Piquant(pee-kahnt) is a Cajun dish that is often used with game meats. Game meats usually require longer cooking time to tenderize the meat. Sauce Piquant also tends to be a spicy dish. You can adjust the seasonings to your own heat level, adding or subtracting the cayenne pepper to your taste. Feel free to substitute chicken, venison, seafood or any protein you want if alligator is not to your taste.
Alligator Sauce Piquant
2 pounds Alligator Tail meat, cubed
1 cup Vegetable Oil
2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
1 cup Flour
2 cups Onions, chopped
2 cups Celery, chopped
2 cups Bell Pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons Garlic, chopped
1 29-ounce can Tomato Sauce
1 28 ounce can Rotel Tomatoes
3 teaspoons Dark Brown Sugar
2 cups Seafood or Chicken Stock
3 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon fish Basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
Season the meat well with Creole seasoning. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Brown meat in oil. Remove the meat and make a medium dark roux with the oil and flour. Add onions, celery and bell pepper. When the pot has somewhat cooled, add the garlic and sauté the vegetables over medium heat until tender. Add tomato sauce, rotel, stock and brown sugar and cook for 3 minutes. Add the seasoning and the meat and simmer until thickened and meat is tender. Serve over hot rice.
Don’t be afraid to eat alligator. It is a great protein for any diet. Remember, it’s better to take a bite on a alligator than to have one take a bite out of you. See you later!