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Monroe Duncan

A tribute to our old friend who has gone on to the big dinner table.

While I worked for WTAR Radio in Norfolk, Virginia as a webmaster Chef Monroe Duncan was co-hosting the Restaurant Show with Pasquale Giovani on the station. Monroe very excitedly came into the studio one day with a pile of papers he wanted me to post online, they were the recipes you'll find below, and he found a cute little chef graphic he wanted me to post with them because he said it reminded him of himself and he just loved it. Below the recipes you'll find some archived photos of Monroe.
-- Tina George


Chef Monroe Duncan's She-Crab Soup (serves four)




INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 tablespoons whole butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon peel (zest)
  • ½ teaspoon ground mace
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons pale dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
  • ½ cup she crab roe
METHOD:
  • In a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foams begins to subside, add the flour and mix well, stirring the mixture constantly with a wire whisk. Pour in the milk and cream in a slow thin stream and cook over high heat until the sauce comes to boil, thickens slightly, and is smooth. (Careful not to scorch. Stir frequently.)
  • Stir in the crabmeat and the crab roe, the onions, lemon zest, mace, the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and the white pepper. Stir in the sherry, taste for seasoning, and pour the soup into a heated tureen or individual soup plates. Sprinkle the top with the parsley and serve the soup at once.
Bon Appetit!


Chef Monroe Duncan's Paneed or Sauteed Soft Shell Crabs (serves one)




INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 cleaned fresh prime soft shell crabs
  • 4 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
  • salt & pepper seasoned plain all purpose flour (remember the crabs are harvested from saltwater)
  • milk to marinate
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 ounces clarified butter
  • 3 ounces whole butter
  • whole fresh lemon
  • 3 ounces of a good (good wine begets good sauce) dry white wine



METHOD:

  • Marinate crabs for an hour in the milk. Remove and pat dry, careful while handling not to press the marinade out of the crab. Dust in lightly seasoned flour, gently shaking the excess flour from the crab.
  • Heat clarified butter until on the verge of smoking. With tongs, place the crabs, one at a time, into the sizzling butter. A splatter screen comes in handy when the crabs crackle and spatter hot butter on your hands and forearms.
  • Pan fry until the crabs are crisp, but not overcooked and dry. Remove them from the pan, discarding the clarified butter, and plate (china that will endure the oven temps) the crabs for service keeping them warm in a 150 to 200 degree oven. Return the pan to the heat source, and add the whole butter. As it melts, add the minced shallots. Sauté until the shallots are cellophane, then plunge a fork into the whole lemon, and over the pan, twist the fork simultaneously with the lemon in opposite directions, dribbling the fresh juice into the shallot/butter mixture.
  • Working very quickly, add the wine. Whisk the mixture creating a creamy liaison between the butter and liquids. If it is not creamy, continue to reduce the fluids over heat or add more butter until the correct viscosity is achieved. If the sauce breaks, add a bit more wine or water until the correct consistency emerges.
  • Add the jumbo lump crabmeat and heat. Withdraw the crabs from the oven, and pour the crab and sauce over them. Serve at once.
Bon Appetit!


Chef Monroe Duncan's Soupe à l’oignon Gratineé (yields 7 quarts )




INGREDIENTS:
  • 9 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 large sprig parsley, 1 bay leaf, 12 whole black peppercorns & 1 whole clove fresh garlic tied up in cheesecloth, voila bouquet garni
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 quart beef or veal stock
  • 2 quarts chicken or a rich and exotic poultry stock (Todd's pheasant stock)
  • 1 ½ cups Port or Calvados brandy
  • 2 pounds grated Gruyere cheese—¾ cup or more for each crock
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and cut in half
  • 4 peeled and halved cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 loaves dense country French baguette cut into round thick slices



METHOD:
  • Gently sauté onions in the butter until cellophane. Sprinkle flour over butter and onions. Brown lightly. Add the stocks, apple, and bouquet garni. Cook over low heat for 1-1/2 hours. Remove from heat and add Calvados or Port.
  • Pour into serving vessels (onion soup crockery) over sliced dense French bread rubbed with halved fresh garlic cloves and dried out in slow oven (200 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour). Layer the crock with Gruyere and soup.
  • Top with ¾ cup (or more if desired) of grated French Gruyere cheese. Pop into preheated 450-degree oven until cheese is melted and brown atop bubbly steaming aromatic onion soup (10 to 15 minutes is a certainty that it will be hot, but check it with a chef's thermometer if there is any doubt). Underline with folded napkin on an appropriately sized plate. Serve with large soupspoon. No bouillon spoons please.
  • Carefully reproduce this recipe. Golden brown and bubbling hot, cautiously underline the molten crock of soup with a triangular folded linen dinner napkin on a dinner plate and serve. This soup is the perfect late evening entrée, best served with crisp French bread, unsalted freshly churned country butter, and bathed in amber hues of candlelight. It is especially marvelous when served complimented with Oregon's Beaux Freres Pinot Noir 2003, a subtle and graceful Pinot, "remarkably generous with its many layers of flavor, offering currant, raspberry, cherry, violet and mineral notes that keep echoing as the finish sails on." (Wine Spectator 95)
Bon Appetit!








 
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