After a long day of sweating over an engine, there's nothing
like a sunset cruise. So one day, we grab a cocktail and start rowing
around the canals of the swamp (oh right, the housing development) to
enjoy the sunset. I see a bump in the water.
"Hey, it's a gator."
"I think it's a stick."
"The stick has beady yellow eyes and it's looking at us."
We kill the outboard and glide towards the "stick". A pair of
yellow eyes from prehistoric times stares blankly at me seeing only red
meat and muscles.
That's it. No trailing of hands in the water.
My new alligator shoes are floating down the canal. I am just a bite on
the food chain for this creature. And he is just a pair of shoes, a purse
and a plate of nuggets to me.
Genus/species: Alligator mississippiensis
The average size for an adult female American alligator is 8.2 feet (2.6
m), and the average size for a male is 11.2 feet (3.4 m). Exceptionally
large males can reach a weight of nearly half a ton or 1,000 pounds.
The easiest way to distinguish an alligator from a crocodile is by looking
at the teeth. The large fourth tooth in the lower jaw of an alligator
fits into a socket in the upper jaw and is not visible when the mouth
is closed. This does not happen in crocodiles. Alligators have between
74 and 80 teeth in their mouth at a time. As teeth wear down they are
replaced. An alligator can go through 2,000 to 3,000 teeth in a lifetime.
Speaking of nuggets... an alligator recipe with lemon and white
· 1 to 1 1/2 pounds alligator meat, cut in bite-size pieces
· ground cayenne and black pepper, to taste
· 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
· 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
· 1/4 cup flour
· 1/4 cup olive oil
· 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
· 1/4 cup seasoned liquid from boiled alligator
· 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
· 3/4 cup dry white wine
· juice of 1 large lemon, or about 4 tablespoons
Cut alligator meat into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with salt and red and
black pepper. Place alligator in a large saucepan, cover with water and
add Old Bay Seasoning. Bring quickly to a boil; boil 2 to 3 minutes. Remove
gator from liquid (reserve liquid), drain, and let meat cool. Dip meat
in yogurt and then in flour.
Heat oil with garlic; remove garlic and lightly brown meat. Transfer meat
to paper towels to drain; keep warm until sauce is done.
Arrange meat on plate and serve with the sauce for dipping.
To make sauce: In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup reserved liquid and
white wine; stir in cornstarch. Heat and stir until mixture starts to
thicken. Add lemon juice and cook until thickened.
Alligator recipe serves 4 to 6.
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