Fried Alligator with Pimiento Aioli Dipping Sauce
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings 1x
Chef Toups grew up hunting and fishing in the marshes and swamps near his hometown of Rayne, Louisiana, where his family has lived for over 300 years. The food he serves at his two New Orleans restaurants celebrates the rich bounty that Louisiana’s diverse coastal habitats provide and the culinary traditions passed down for generations.
ABOUT THE DISH
Louisiana’s rich and productive estuaries – zones where salt water from the Gulf mixes with fresh water from rivers – create an array of habitats that support numerous and diverse fish and wildlife species. One such species is the iconic American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Louisiana’s state reptile and a true conservation success story.
In the 1960s, the future of our alligators was in doubt. Loss of freshwater habitat, where alligators reside, combined with over-hunting took a toll on their population. In response, Louisiana developed a rigorous management program and the alligator population rebounded. Alligators were removed from the endangered species list in 1987.
Today, alligators are abundant in freshwater habitats throughout Louisiana, but coastal protection and restoration is key to protecting their future. By implementing land-building sediment diversions and other restoration projects outlined in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan, our state’s reptile and one of our most iconic swamp species can continue to call coastal Louisiana “home” for years to come.
In addition to being cute and cuddly, the alligator is good eatin’! Louisiana’s alligator industry is valued at close to $90 million annually, and one popular use for this abundant resource is food! Alligator has been a part of Cajun and Creole cuisine for centuries. A longtime supporter of coastal restoration, Chef Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery demonstrated how to easily whip up a delicious alligator dish from the comfort of your own home at an event hosted by Restore the Mississippi River Delta at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in 2017.
- 1 lb. alligator tail meat, patted dry
For the wet:
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp. jalapeño Tabasco
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
For the dry:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp. popcorn salt
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. granulated garlic
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp. creole mustard
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar
- 1 roasted bell pepper, deskinned and seeded
- 1 jalapeño, deskinned and seeded
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- Whisk together wet ingredients, add alligator and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients.
- Heat peanut oil to 350° F in deep fryer. Remove alligator from buttermilk mixture and dredge well in flour mix. Shake off excess. Fry for 90 seconds or until internal temperature reaches 155° F. Place hot alligator on paper towels to cool slightly.
- In food processor, blend egg yolks, mustard, cheddar, bell pepper, jalapeño, cream cheese and white wine vinegar for 30 seconds or until smooth. Drizzle in canola oil while running. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve alligator with the pimento aioli as a dipping sauce and a side of your favorite coleslaw.
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