Soft-Shell Crabs
Shellfish Guide

Soft-Shell Crabs

Soft-Shell Crab with Crabmeat Meuniere Few dishes inspire the eye-popping anticipation that a large, golden brown soft shell crab does. It has such intrinsic excellence that any elaborate preparation diminishes it. The standard (and best) preparation is to dust the crab with seasoned flour and fry it. All it really needs in the way of a sauce is a little brown butter, and perhaps a topping of some extra jumbo lump crabmeat. 4 large soft-shell crabs 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. white pepper 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup milk…

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Crab Cakes a la Charley G’s
Crab Entrees

Crab Cakes a la Charley G’s

Crab cakes were the most talked-about specialty in the years when Charley G’s had a restaurant in Metairie. (They still operate in their home town of Lafayette.) Their solution to the challenge of making the greatest amount of crabmeat stick together in the least amount of binder was solved by pushing the crab lumps into a matrix of bechamel. (That’s what you get when you whisk milk into a blond roux.) Read More. . .

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Deviled Crab Cakes

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RecipeSquare-150x150 Make this recipe instead of moaning over the disappearance of the canned codfish New Orleanians like to make during Lent. Codfish is largely fished out, and not often found at all down here. Use crabmeat instead, and you’ll have something. If jumbo lump crabmeat seems not penitential enough, use claw crabmeat. Read entire article.

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Crawfish Willy Coln

RecipeSquare-150x150 Chef Willy Coln came to town to run the kitchens of the Royal Sonesta, then opened his own terrific German restaurant on the West Bank. He worked for over a decade afterwards as executive chef of the Inter-Continental Hotel. Here is one of the dishes he developed for the hotel’s Veranda Restaurant, where it was served as an appetizer. Read entire article.

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Crawfish Pasta

RecipeSquare-150x150 I’m pleased to know a few people for whom famous local dishes are named. Monica Hilzim and her husband Pete have a company that makes pasta sauces, among other things. “Crawfish Monica” is their registered trademark for the star in their stable. It’s one of the most popular dishes at the Jazz Festival, among other places, and I get so many requests for the recipe that I developed my own version. It gets its distinctive pink-orange color from Creole seasoning. Read More. . .

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Soft-Shell Crab with Pecans

RecipeSquare-150x150 We’re just about at the end of soft-shell crabs for this year. But I’m still hearing from listeners and readers that they’ve scored a few, so here’s a grand finale for the season. Pecans add a fascinating flavor dimension to all kinds of seafood. They’re used most commonly with fish, but I think they’re great with soft-shell crabs. Recipe details. . .

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Crabmeat Au Gratin
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Crabmeat Au Gratin

“Au gratin” does not mean “covered with a thick layer of day-glo melted cheese.” Unfortunately, that’s the accepted meaning in this country, where we somehow have the idea that adding cheese to anything makes it better. The best versions of crabmeat au gratin prove the opposite is true. Take it very easy on the cheese. This crust is mostly bread crumbs, although there’s some Parmesan cheese both in the crust and in the sauce. You will thank me for not ruining the taste of the crabmeat with melted Cheddar or the like. Read More. . .

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Oysters Casino

RecipeSquare-150x150 In the Northeast, clams casino is a familiar dish on traditional menus. We rarely see the dish in New Orleans (in fact, we almost never eat clams). But I always loved the sauce, and find it spectacular baked on top of oysters on the half shell. It’s also not bad as a casserole with shrimp. Recipe details. . .

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Steak With Lobster Perigourdine
Beef

Steak With Lobster Perigourdine

The last word in surf ‘n’ turf was created by Chef Greg Brandt, when he was cooking around New Orleans. I don’t know where he is now, but after shooting a television piece with him at the old Greco’s in the French Market, I glommed onto this recipe and play with it any time leftover lobster comes my way. I’ve also found that this works well with big shrimp. This is more ambitious than most of the recipes I give you, but it requires more attention than skill to make it right. Read More. . .

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Seared Scallops with Artichokes

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RecipeSquare-150x150 This is a signature dish at the Pelican Club, where Chef Richard Hughes calls it by the misleading name “scallop-stuffed artichoke.” It’s sophisticated in both flavor and appearance. It’s best made with dry-pack (also known as “day-boat”) scallops, which have not been processed for long shelf life. (The ones in the supermarket probably are not this kind.) Careful: don’t overcook the scallops! Use high heat and get them out of the pan while they’re still bulging.

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Gratin Of Crawfish Tails
1 Appetizers: Shellfish

Gratin Of Crawfish Tails

This is what I came up with when I tried to blend some of my favorite crawfish appetizers into a single dish. Don’t attempt this when crawfish are out of season. Freshness is essential. Best: crawfish you boiled (without crab boil) yourself and peeled. Worst: imported crawfish. Read More. . .

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Asparagus and Crawfish with Glazed Hollandaise
Crawfish Entrees

Asparagus and Crawfish with Glazed Hollandaise

The perfect time to make this dish is springtime, when both crawfish and asparagus are excellent and inexpensive. The flavor blend, enriched by the hollandaise, is remarkable. What makes it especially appealing is glazing the hollandaise, a simple old technique not often enough employed. Read More. . .

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Raw Oysters Mignonette

RecipeSquare-150x150 Mignonette sauce–it’s more like a cold relish, really–takes you just a short step away from eating raw oysters with nothing at all on them. The flavors don’t get in the way of those of the oyster, and the contrast between the metallic brininess and softness of the oyster. . . Recipe details. . .

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Barbecue Shrimp

RecipeSquare-150x150 The dish is simple: huge whole shrimp in a tremendous amount of butter and black pepper. The essential ingredient is large, heads-on shrimp, since the fat in the shrimp heads makes most of the flavor. Resist the urge to add lots of herbs or garlic. This recipe is largely based on the new recipe created by Chef Gerard Maras in the early 1980s at Mr. B’s. The butter emulsifies into the other liquids, and gives not only a bigger flavor but a nicer-looking dish. Recipe details. . .

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Shrimp Toast, Great Chinese Appetizer.

RecipeSquare-150x150 Shrimp toast is a wonderful Chinese appetizer that few restaurants do well. The best I ever had came from Kenny Cheung, who for years operated the now-gone Peking in New Orleans East. I once walked into his kitchen and saw an entire sink full of fresh shrimp he’d just bought. He beamed at me and said, “Not many Chinese restaurants peel fresh shrimp for shrimp toast!” It is much simpler to prepare than the finished product would have you believe. It is delicious served with Chinese plum sauce, which can be found at any large supermarket. Recipe details. . .

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Shrimp Limone

This is a dazzling dish for shrimp lovers. The lemon is really out there, and the bit of smoky richness from the ham and a touch of red pepper at the end brings it to the culinary border of Italy and Louisiana.. . More to come. . .

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Crawfish Cardinale

RecipeSquare-150x150 Crawfish Cardinale

The most famous and best crawfish dish at Antoine’s is, like many of their dishes, an adaptation of something else on the menu. In this case, it’s crawfish mariniere with a bit of what they call “tomato sauce,” but which I’m almost certain is actually ketchup. This recipe duplicates the dish closely, then adds a couple of other flavors I like with crawfish (the tarragon, chervil, and dill, all optional). Recipe details. . .

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February 6 In Eating
February

February 6 In Eating

AlmanacSquare Today in 1935, the board game Monopoly was sold for the first time. Now you can find custom versions of the game for many cities and special interests. But I don’t think I’ve seen one with restaurants as the theme. Let’s see. . . in New Orleans, the inexpensive properties just past GO would be Domilese’s and Dong Phuong. Around the first turn you’d have the opportunity to buy Mandina’s and Liuzza’s. Just past Free Parking you’d have Mr. B’s and Clancy’s and Brigtsen’s. The green properties would be Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s, and Antoine’s. But which would be the ones where Boardwalk and Park Place? August? Commander’s Palace? Square Root? There’s more. . .

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Cataplana With Mussels And Shrimp
* Red Bean Edition

Cataplana With Mussels And Shrimp

Cataplana is the Portuguese version of what in France is called bouillabaisse, in Spain zarzuela, and in Italy cioppino. With regional differences, of course. The only restaurant I’ve ever found it was at La Cote Brasserie in its early days. They took it off the menu, so I had to do some research to develop my own slightly Creolized recipe, which pleased me. (If only my family were more adventuresome.) I know this looks like a long, complicated recipe, but it’s not really as hard as it appears. You have the whole weekend to have fun. Read More. . .

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Coconut Crusted Gulf Shrimp
Shrimp Entrees

Coconut Crusted Gulf Shrimp

This is one of the Red Fish Grill’s best appetizers, and people are always asking for the recipe. It was originally created, I think, at Mr. B’s; Ralph Brennan took it with him when he opened the Red Fish. It’s best done when large shrimp are available, particularly during the white shrimp season in the fall. I’ll stop short of saying “the bigger, the better” (gigantic shrimp are a little too tough for this), but when you go through the pile take the large ones. Read more. . .

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Shrimp Calabrese
Shrimp Entrees

Shrimp Calabrese

In the Italian province of Calabria, they make this dish with the true scampi or langoustini from the Mediterranean. Cook this in a large black iron skillet; the heat-holding properties of the black iron will impart a “baked” effect to the dish. Cooking the shrimp with the heads on will enrich the sauce. More. . .

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Crawfish Pie
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Crawfish Pie

I don’t really like crawfish pie the way it’s usually made–as a thickened crawfish etouffee baked in a little pie shell. This version is a bit richer, more herbal (with an up-front garlic tinge), and less red-peppery. It’s also folded into a triangle of phyllo pastry, and comes out looking like a Middle Eastern spinach pie. That eliminates the worst part of the standard crawfish pie. . . Read More. . .

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Hot Shrimp With Jalapeno, Bacon & Mozzarella.
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Hot Shrimp With Jalapeno, Bacon & Mozzarella.

When Louisiana brown shrimp or white shrimp are in season (spring and late summer respectively), New Orleans people think of a new way to cook them every day. This one is a great party dish: big shrimp butterflied and stuffed with mozzarella cheese, wrapped in Cajun hot sausage (pre-fried bacon also works), and broiled till the sausage is crispy. Make a million of these: once people start eating them, they won’t be able to stop. Read More. . .

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Lobster Artichoke Dip
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Lobster Artichoke Dip

Unlike most Americans (and everybody else in my family), I’m not wild about the spinach-artichoke dip you find in every chain restaurant in town–and an increasing number of independent places, too. However, I can’t deny that there’s something to the basic idea, and have been thinking about other directions for it. Then it hit me: lobster and artichoke go very well together. Particularly if you use the claw meat–not just the pincers, but the rest of the claw, too, and even the meat from the legs if the lobster is big enough to make that work worthwhile. (You could also use claw crabmeat.) The step of making lobster stock from the shells is highly desirable but optional. But it gives you the excuse to have a lobster dinner a few days before making this stuff. Read More. . .

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Hot Bacon Shrimp
Shrimp Entrees

Hot Bacon Shrimp

Near as I can tell, this dish infiltrated New Orleans from the West Coast, and caught on in a wide variety of restaurants. Its goodness owes much to the quality of the shrimp we have in New Orleans, but it’s a great party dish: big shrimp butterflied and stuffed with a mixture of mozzarella cheese and jalapeno chips, wrapped in bacon, and broiled till the bacon is crispy. Make a million of these: once people start eating them, they won’t be able to stop. Read More. . .

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Lobster Thermidor
Shellfish

Lobster Thermidor

Lobster Thermidor is an ancient dish that has gone completely out of vogue. The only restaurants that have it anymore are those with a retro-French menu. But it’s a good dish, if more than a little on the rich side. If you can get some really good mushrooms, use them. Chanterelles would be the ultimate. Read More. . .

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Oyster Rockefeller Soup
Oyster Appetizers

Oyster Rockefeller Soup

I don’t know who had the idea of turning the classic appetizer into a soup, but I do remember when it happened: in the early 1980s, when chefs began realizing that recipes were not sacraments, and that they could play with them. My version uses the flavor profile in the original oysters Rockefeller from Antoine’s. The critical ingredient is oyster water (“oyster liquor”), which can be had from any outfit that shucks oysters. Sometimes even for free, if they like you. Read More. . .

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Crawfish And Corn Beignets
1 Appetizers: Shellfish

Crawfish And Corn Beignets

The starting point for this is choux pastry–the same soft dough used to make cream puffs or profiteroles, but without sugar. All you need once you have that made is some crawfish tails. This is a good dish to make with the smaller tails we get at the beginning or the end of the crawfish season. (Meaning right now.) White remoulade sauce is the perfect touch. Read More. . .

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Stir-Fried Satsuma Shrimp
Shrimp Entrees

Stir-Fried Satsuma Shrimp

When satsumas start coming in from Plaquemines Parish, we eat them by the sack. But I never cooked with them until my Cub Scouts picked a short ton of them. Stir-fry dishes, in order to come out right, require a great deal of heat and either a wok or one of those wok-like skillets. Flat-bottomed woks are better for most home cooks, and essential if you have an electric stove. You have to preheat the wok for about ten minutes before you start cooking. And the pieces of food, particularly meats, need to be cut up smaller than your instincts tell you. Read More. . .

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Creole Shrimp Curry
Shrimp Entrees

Creole Shrimp Curry

This isn’t really fusion cuisine. The spices that give the curry-like flavor are often found in Creole and Cajun seasoning blends. Nor is there any real Indian authenticity here, unless you put out the little plates full of raisins, coconut, chutney, etc. Chef Tom Cowman used to make a superb dish along these lines at the old Jonathan. Read More. . .

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Vol-Au-Vent of Louisiana Seafood
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Vol-Au-Vent of Louisiana Seafood

Vol-Au-Vent of Louisiana Seafood This is a delectable combination of fresh local shellfish in a rich, slightly spicy sauce. The vol-au-vent (a large version of what Orleanians call a “patty shell”) can be bought fresh from a French baker. 2 Tbs. olive oil 1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 Tbs. chopped French shallots 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 cups heavy cream Pinch saffron threads 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. white pepper Pinch cayenne Pinch ground ginger 3 lbs. crawfish tails 1 1/2 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1/2 tsp….

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Marinated Shrimp with Artichokes
Shrimp Entrees

Marinated Shrimp with Artichokes

Louisiana white shrimp appear in late summer and fall. I believe they are the world’s best shrimp. Here’s a chilled shrimp dish that qualifies, I suppose, as Creole antipasto. It’s pretty good as is, served chilled. Or you can toss it with greens or with cooked, chilled pasta as a salad. Read More. . .

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Oysters Corinne
Oyster Appetizers

Oysters Corinne

The memory of Corinne Dunbar’s restaurant, a semi-landmark on St. Charles Avenue for years, is fading away. Which may be just as well, because there was really only one dish that made a big enough impression on the palate that I still hear requests for recipes for it. It’s the kind of dish that you’d never find anywhere in the world but New Orleans: oysters in a thick, savory brown sauce. I received a note from reader Jim Marsalis with his mother’s take on oysters Dunbar. He says her name was Corinne, interestingly enough. I tried it out and thought it was a great recipe. Here it is, with only minimal goosing from me. The presence of margarine in it tells me it comes from long ago. Read More. . .

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Sizzling Crabmeat On Tripletail
Crab Entrees

Sizzling Crabmeat On Tripletail

Tripletail With Sizzling Crabmeat and Herbs The excitement in this dish comes from the ability of clarified butter to be made extremely hot without burning. Hot enough to sizzle anything it’s poured over. The butter looks harmless when you bring it to the table, but spoon it over the crabmeat and fresh herbs, and it crackles and sizzles, with drama and a wonderful aroma. This also works on a steak. 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (about half a bunch) 1 Tbs. capers, chopped 2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic 1 dash…

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Shrimp Saki
Shrimp Entrees

Shrimp Saki

Shrimp Saki, despite the name, does not have any sort of Polynesian or Oriental aspect. The name is the nickname of a Mrs. Sakowitz, who used to stay at the Pontchartrain Hotel every time she came to town. Shrimp Saki was on the menu at that hotel’s restaurants for a long time. Read More. . .

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