Dig Baton Rouge

Get Your Grillades On

This is a tasty Lenten alternative to that classic Creole breakfast and single most effective hangover cure on the planet, veal grillades and grits. It substitutes alligator for the much more sinful veal round, and I think it makes a great surrogate. While alligator is more often blackened, grilled, or fried, the firm meat is excellent for braising. It’s clean, earthy flavor lends very well to this delicious Creole classic. Serve over smoked Gouda grits and top with a poached egg and green onions for an excellent brunch dish to kill those Sunday morning blues.

1 lb. alligator tail meat

Seasoned flour, for dredging

Vegetable oil, for browning

Butter, for sautéing

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 jalapeño, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Creole tomato, diced

4 cups crawfish stock (you can substitute water, but why would you?)

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

3 dashes Tabasco (in the name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit)

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons Creole seasoning

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark roux

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Sliced green onions, for garnish


Cut the alligator tail into 2 oz. pieces and pound out until thin, but not lacerated. Dredge the meat in seasoned flour and brown well in a medium-hot skillet on both sides without burning. Transfer to a dish and reserve. In the same pan, swirl the butter and add all of the vegetables except the tomato and sauté until lightly caramelized. Add the tomato and a pinch of salt, and allow the tomato to slightly break down (approximately 4-5 minutes). Add the remaining ingredients except for the roux and garnish, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Return the grillades to the pan and simmer until the meat is tender (approximately 1½ hours), and remove once more. Add the dark roux to the sauce and simmer until dissolved. To complete, lay the grillades over grits and generously spoon the sauce over them. Top with a poached egg if you’re smart, and garnish with plenty of green onions. Enjoy!



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