Mano Rafael grew up in Marseille, France, where his mother, Michelle, brother, Jean-Roger, and Uncle Patrice Boelly, were all chefs. At age 20, Mano opened L’Auberge du Midi in New York’s Greenwich Village, with Jean-Roger and his wife, Drissia. While there he met his future wife, Barbara. After the brothers parted ways, Mano worked at The Ritz Carlton, Petrossian, The Millennium, and Casanis in New York City. While at Casanis he received many accolades, including one from Ruth Reichl of New York Magazine, who called his chicken “state of the art.” Mano and Barbara married, came to Barbara’s hometown of Kansas City, and then opened their dream restaurant, Le Fou Frog, in September 1996. The restaurant’s name means “The Crazy Frenchman,” and Mano revels in providing authentic French fare plus his own creations.
Mano is absolutely “Fou” about food. He brings to Le Fou Frog his passion for fish and sauces, and enjoys Kansas City’s wonderful meat offerings. Mano likes to take French basics and give them his own twist, and transforming mundane ingredients into something spectacular.
Scallops With Crab, Saffron And Tomato
Makes 4 servings:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
2 celery sticks
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, cut in halfPull the meat from
2 small blue crabs, pull off the meat for crab stock; it should yield about 1/2 a cup
1/2 cup brandy
2 teaspoons white wine
5 cups water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
pinch of saffron
3 medium sized Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon dry vermouth
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cream
2 pounds of dry U10 scallops
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup crab meat, cooked
In a saucepan put 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the mirapoix and blue crabs. Break up the crab. Let the mirapoix vegetables sweat and, when they start to glisten, deglaze the pan with brandy. Add white wine, water, and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Let simmer over low heat until reduced by half. Strain and set aside.
In saucepan, put 1 cup of crab broth. Then top with saffron, Roma tomatoes and the lemon juice. Cook at medium heat until combined. Take from the heat and pass through a chinois (a conical sieve with extremely fine mesh). Take the pureed broth, put into a saucepan and reduce to half over low heat. Add dry vermouth, salt and pepper and cream. Simmer over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, heat a sauté pan to medium, and season scallops with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté scallops until brown on both sides; about one minute per side. Plate the scallops and drizzle sauce around them. If desired, add crab meat chunks to the sauce at the end of cooking. Serve scallops with rice or polenta, and vegetables. Bon Appetit!