Gator Bites and Charred Corn Crepe Stack

Ever since we visited the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine and had that delicious alligator at Singleton’s a few months back, our oldest son has been clamoring for more alligator.  I will admit that it has been a while since I last prepared alligator, but it was a huge hit.  I also went ahead and FINALLY tried out this Charred Corn Crepe recipe I have been drooling over for a while now.  (If you have never visited the Smitten Kitchen blog, go do it.)  Summer is slipping away from us, so it seemed like the perfect time to squeeze in a delicious fresh corn recipe before we all start thinking about Autumn.

Alligator is extremely lean and very high in protein.  It contains twice the amount of protein per serving as chicken and nearly three times the protein per serving as pork.  Just 3 ounces will give most people nearly 100% of the protein they need in an entire day.  The best part?  It is farmed and, therefore, completely sustainable.  It is farmed right here in the United States.  (Interestingly, the meat is considered a byproduct.  These animals are farmed for their skin.)

I started with a one-pound package of frozen Alligator Tail Meat.  One thing to look for when buying gator meat… is it tenderized?  If it isn’t, you will wind up with a tough meal.  No one wants to set themselves up for failure.  This particular brand is very thoroughly tenderized.  Don’t expect to open it and see a one-pound piece of meat.  It is thinly sliced and nearly shredded from being put through a tenderizing machine.

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I thawed the alligator meat, and then cut the meat into bite-sized chunks.  As an added measure against any toughness, I soaked it in milk for a few hours.  Buttermilk would be great, too.

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After a thorough soak in the milk, I put it straight into the breading.  This time, I used a boxed breading that I brought home from the store.  It has a great mixture of corn flour and white flour, but no actual corn meal.  It is perfectly seasoned.  It just takes some of the work out of it for you.

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Once each piece was thoroughly coated, I set it aside and heated the oil.  I use Canola oil and I heated it over medium-high heat.

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I don’t use thermometers much when frying.  One tip is to always get the oil hotter than you THINK you need it because, when you add multiple items to the pan, the temperature will drop significantly.  The best way to tell if the oil is hot enough is to drop a test piece into the pan.  You should see bubbles immediately.  If you don’t, it isn’t hot enough.  This is what it should look like when you drop your test piece in:

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Because the pieces of alligator are so thin, this won’t take ANY time at all.  As soon as they are brown, I fished them out.  MAYBE 30 – 60 seconds.  Immediately drain the cooked pieces on a layer of paper towels.

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Now the options are all yours.  I have seen these served with everything from garlic butter to honey mustard for dipping.  We opted for the Bahamian Man-O-War sauce that we serve in the Café.  Tartar Sauce would be great.  You could even put these in a roll and eat it like a Po’ Boy.  Over a salad.  In a wrap.

They were crispy and SO TENDER!!

The Charred Corn Crepe recipe was also a success.  I recommend giving it a try while corn is still abundant.

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The kids loved it.  It is fun to eat things we don’t normally think of as “food”.  It even inspired some VERY imaginative bath tub play later on in the evening.

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