- 1 1/2 cups basil leaves, washed and patted dry
- 6 crushed garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 sticks cold butter, cubed
- 8 Louisiana softshells, cleaned
- 1 cup Goat's cheese
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups mashed potatoes, hot
- 2 eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 cups fine dried breadcrumbs
- Emeril's Original Essence
Preheat the oil to 360 degrees F. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine 1 cup of the basil, the garlic, pecans, and cheese. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. With the machine running, add the oil in a steady stream. Process until a paste is formed. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pesto in a saucepan and heat over low heat. Whisk in the butter, a cube at a time, until all of the butter is incorporated. Reseason the sauce if necessary. Set aside and keep warm.
Season all sides of the softshells with salt and pepper. Season the flour with Essence. Season the egg wash with Essence. Season the breadcrumbs with Essence. Stuff each cavity with 2 tablespoons of the Goat's cheese. Press the cheese firmly into the cavity to secure the cheese. Dredge the softshells in the seasoned flour. Dip each softshell in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the softshells in the breadcrumbs, coating the legs completely.
Fry the remaining basil leaves in the oil until crispy, about 1 minute. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Holding the cavity, carefully drag the legs in the hot oil for about 30 seconds. Carefully drop the shells in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season with Essence. To serve, spoon the sauce in the center of each plate. Mound the potatoes in the center of the sauce. Place two softshells on top of each mound of potatoes. Garnish with the fried basil.
Yield: 4 servings