Many anglers in Texas will be taking catch and release to a new level this year in the wake of the winter storm and subsequent fish kill along the coast, although the concept has been widely embraced by anglers for decades. With a renewed emphasis on putting fish in the water rather than the cooler at least until fish populations rebound, this seems like the perfect time to embrace the philosophy of Austin, Texas-based chef Jesse Griffiths when he says, “Eat a Hog, Save the World!”
Jesse Griffiths is the chef/owner of Dai Due Butcher Shop and Supper Club along with his business partner, Tamara Mayfield, and head instructor of the New School of Traditional Cookery. In 2012, he authored Afield: a chef’s guide to preparing and cooking wild game and fish, which was nominated for a James Beard award.
Guest Chef Feature By Jesse Griffiths
This is a traditional manicotti that uses a simple crêpe (instead of the more common pasta tube) filled with cheese, shredded meat, copious parsley and a little egg. Baking the crêpes for an hour gets them crisp around the edges and sets the filling nicely. Use the standard tomato sauce recipe, or feel free to enliven it a bit with some crisped pancetta. Don’t completely cover the manicotti with the sauce; leaving some crêpe exposed allows it to crisp up a bit in the oven. This dish provides an excellent opportunity to use up some lean big-boar meat that’s been cooked and shredded, as the rich cheeses and vibrant tomato sauce counterbalance and tame strong flavors. Crêpes can be a bit of a pain to make, and sometimes the first couple don’t come out perfectly, so consider doubling the crêpe recipe for insurance. The worst thing that will come of it is a few extra crêpes for breakfast. Serves 4.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- Pinch salt
- Olive oil for the pan
- 2 cups shredded boar meat
- 1½ cups (369 g) whole milk ricotta cheese
- ½ cup fresh mozzarella or provolone, diced or grated
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago or Pecorino Romano, divided
- 2 eggs
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Basic tomato sauce
Make the crêpes. Combine the flour, egg, milk and salt in a blender and puree until smooth, or whisk until smooth in a bowl. Refrigerate the batter for at least 1 hour.
Heat a small (7-in) non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom. Once hot, pick up the pan with one hand and pour in ¼ cup of the batter with the other, immediately tilting and swirling the pan to coat the entire bottom. Return it to the burner and cook for about 15–25 seconds, then carefully flip it with a flexible spatula. Cook the second side for 15–25 seconds, then remove the crêpe to a plate; the crepe should be lightly browned in spots. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding a little olive oil each time. You should have 8 crêpes.
To make the filling, combine the shredded meat, ricotta, mozzarella or provolone, ½ cup of the Parmigiano, eggs, lemon, parsley and nutmeg in a bowl, mixing very well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread 2/3 of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a baking dish and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spoon a ½ cup of the filling into the center of each crêpe, then roll it up. Place them in the baking dish as you assemble them.
Once all of the crêpes are in the dish, pour the remaining sauce down the middle, leaving the edges of the crepes exposed. Dust with the remaining ½ cup (43 g) Parmigiano, pecorino or Asiago, and bake in the preheated oven for one hour, until bubbling. Serve immediately with a nice salad.