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The Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

I’m proud to say that my photo made it on the cover of the new book The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Oysters
! I’m thrilled to be associated with such an informative book, the kind of cookbook I like, not just recipes, but loads of information as well.

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

The photo is from my post Drago’s Style Charbroiled Oysters Recipe. The art director of Pelican Publishing in Gretna saw my photo online and contacted me about possibly using it on the cover of an upcoming cookbook about Oysters. Being a Bona Fide Louisiana cookbook Junkie, I knew immediately that it was for the upcoming Oyster volume of The Louisiana Seafood Bible series by Jerald & Glenda Horst, because I already own the other three volumes. :)

The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Shrimp
The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crabs
The Louisiana Seafood Bible: Crawfish

This is a great book, packed with information about the Louisiana Oyster, starting with the long history of the Louisiana Oyster industry, then continuing with every step of oyster production, from harvesting, to processing, to how to recognize quality.

The second half of the book is loaded with recipes from Louisiana home cooks as well from Chefs and restaurateurs, including the recipe for Drago’s Charbroiled Oysters. I haven’t had a chance to try out any of the recipes as of yet, but the ones that I’m looking forward to trying are Baked Oysters Bay Batiste which contains Mexican Chorizo and mushrooms, P&J’s Oyster Rockefeller Soup, Oyster Fricassee, Smoked Pork and Oyster Jambalaya, and Oyster Tasso Pasta. I will keep you posted on how they turn out!

This book is not just another addition to my extensive collection of Louisiana cookbooks, but the one that I’m the most proud of! Maybe one day I will have my own cookbook that will share the shelf with this one.

Here are some of my Oyster Recipes featured on this site:

Angels on Horseback Recipe
Chargrilled Oysters with Artichoke Garlic Cream Sauce
Drago’s Style Charbroiled Oysters recipe
Oysters Bienville
Oyster Dressing
Oyster Omelette
Oysters Roffignac

By the way check out this Bibliography of Louisiana Cookbooks that I put together! Let me know if any of your favorites are missing!

From Louisiana Seafood Bible – Oysters

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

Shrimp Creole Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

To be quite honest, there are certain dishes that I never intended to include on this site because they have been so completely bastardized by restaurants across the country. Shrimp Creole is near the top of the list. Why would I want to include this dish? Everyone has a recipe for it. A lot of restaurants, even outside of Louisiana serve it. Why in the hell do I even want to bother? Everyone knows what Shrimp Creole is!

But then it dawned on me. You know what? Maybe because of all the hack versions out there, a lot of people, especially outside of Louisiana, don’t know how great Shrimp Creole can be! Every bad rendition of Shrimp Creole, just like Shrimp Etouffee, served in some dive restaurants across the country, have created a perception to the diner that this dish is just OK, or in the worst case scenario, absolutely horrible. For God’s sake, some restaurants even serve shrimp covered in canned Marinara sauce and pass it off as Shrimp Creole. Yikes.

There are a lot of good and bad recipes for Shrimp Creole out there, hopefully you will enjoy this one as much as I do. The defining factor that I think makes this dish great, instead of just good, in addition to the use of the highest quality Louisiana or Gulf Shrimp, is using homemade Shrimp Stock in place of water during the preparation of your Creole Sauce.

All that aside, on to the dish…

As I see it, Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Sauce Piquant are pretty much the same dish, with a few differences.

First, Shrimp Creole, or as it was once known, Shrimp a la Creole, is a New Orleans dish. Shrimp Sauce Piquant is Acadian, much spicier (hence the name) and usually, but not always containing a roux. But as I said, they’re pretty darned similar, and like most dishes in New Orleans these days the two cuisines have kind of merged in a lot of different areas. Like any dish that there are a trillion recipes for, it’s all a matter of your personal taste.

Like I always say, let’s not fight, it’s only dinner after all, just make sure it tastes good.

The Recipe:

Shrimp Creole Recipe

2 lbs. Peeled and Deveined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
1 small Green Pepper, finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cups Shrimp Stock (recipe here)
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
Cayenne to taste
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt to taste
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1 bunch Fresh Thyme
2 Tbsp Tabasco
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
1/8 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown. Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, then add the fresh tomatoes and another healthy pinch of Kosher salt, this will help the tomatoes break down. Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, and turn the heat to high until most of the alcohol burns off. Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and Thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

(If necessary at this point thicken the sauce with 1 Tbsp Cornstarch/ 2Tbsp water. Bring to a boil to maximize the thickening power of the cornstarch.)

Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and season to taste with Kosher salt. Last chance to re-season your sauce, remember that good cooking is all about proper seasoning. Make your Boiled Rice, and season your shrimp with 1 Tbsp Kosher salt and a pinch of Cayenne.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp. The key is to not overcook your shrimp. Let them slowly simmer in the sauce until just cooked through.

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Shrimp Etouffee Recipe
Shrimp Stock Recipe
Shrimp Remoulade Recipe

Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

This is part 2 of Great Chefs of New Orleans: Austin Leslie, which I’ve been working on with my friend Texas Chef Bill Moran. Like I said, with each Chef we feature, we will include a recipe that he/she is most famous for, in this case Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken.
A lot of people think Austin Leslie had a secret ingredient, heck, maybe he had a little secret, but I believe his main secrets were patience and knowledge.

The following passage about frying chicken by Austin Leslie is from the 1978 book Creole Feast by Nathaniel Burton and Rudy Lombard:

“The first time I cut up a chicken I was working at Portia’s. The chef there , Bill Turner, asked me where I learned how to do it. I said I learned from my mother at home. He taught me how to get twelve pieces from a whole chicken; my mother was able to get thirteen pieces from the same chicken because she broke the back into two parts. I learned all about fried chicken from Bill Turner, too. It’s the easiest job in the kitchen. You can tell by the sound when fried chicken is done. If you listen to it, you can hear how the sound of the grease crackling in the fryer changes. Then you know it’s time to bring it up. I never cook it well done; I never cook any meat well done. What I do is take the blood out of it first-while the chicken is frying, take a pair of tongs and squeeze each piece. Squeeze it till it bursts to let the blood out. You can look right down there by the bone and see if there is any blood there. When it’s ready the chicken will float to the top, a part of it will stick up. Then you take it and check it over. If you cook it properly you can keep your guests or customers from ever seeing any blood. That’s what they object to, when they prefer well-done meat-not the taste, but the blood.
If you’re serving fried chicken to twelve people you will need three chickens so you can provide three pieces each. The wings-two pieces; the breast-four pieces; the back-two pieces; the thighs-two pieces, the leg-two pieces; that’s twelve in all. Since people want to handle chicken easily when they eat it, we cut it that way. Actually we can fry it just as well in larger cuts. When you cut it properly you won’t loosen the skin. You start by cutting it down the back. Split it down the middle. Then take a sharp cleaver and place the chicken firmly on a block and hold it down. After you split it down the back, then you open it up and take out the insides and put them aside. Then you cut straight through the breast. Cut it into quarters with the cleaver, seperating the thighs from the breast. Then disjoint it at the wings, and disjoint the legs from the thighs. If you use a cleaver, be careful. If you use a knife, always cut away from yourself. Always move all other knives away from the board when you use a cleaver because you can mis-strike, and if that cleaver hits a knife, it can jump up and hit you.
After the chicken is cut up, salt and pepper it, mixing the pieces around so the salt and pepper get all over the chicken.
If you are preparing the chicken to be cooked later, don’t do what they do in markets-cover it with plastic wrap or wax paper. If you do that and then put it into the refrigerator, some of it might go bad. The best thing is to put the seasoned chicken in a bowl uncovered. That way the cold air can get call around the chicken and keep it fresh. The next step is to make an egg wash. Use any kind of cream-for one chicken, use one egg and half a can of evaporated milk. Add some salt and pepper, stir it up, put the chicken in and let it sit. Put enough flour to cover the chicken either in a bag or in a flat bowl and coat the chicken with flour. If you use an electric fryer, set it at 350 F, if you pan-fry, wait till the oil is beginning to bubble. I use peanut oil for frying. Put the heavy pieces in first (thigh, leg and breast), making sure you don’t crowd the chicken. If you put too much in at one time the heat and oil can’t get all around the meat and it will cook unevenly. You have to watch the flour that falls to the bottom of the pan very carefully. After each set of pieces gets done, strain the oil out and clean the pan, otherwise the flour at the bottom is going to burn. You’ve heard people say the first chicken looks good, the second so-so, and the third you can forget. That’s why. Never fry anything else (meat, fish, or sausage) along with the chicken, because it will give it a bad taste. It’s like frying hot sausage on a grill and then following it up with steak or ham. You see that a lot in restaurant kitchens and that’s why the food has a strange taste. You can’t cut up a lobster on the same board you use chicken or some other meat.” -Austin Leslie

The above pic is my recreation, using the instructions at the bottom of this page and following the recipe. It may not have been Austin Leslie’s, but it was a damned good plate of Chicken. Here is the recipe:

Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken with Persillade Recipe

1 ¼ Cups Peanut Oil for frying
1 3-3 1/2; lb Fryer cut up (see above)
Salt and Black Pepper
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1 cup Water
½ Cup flour

Garnish:
4 Tbl fresh minced garlic
4 Tbl fresh minced parsley
Dill Pickle Slices

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet to 350 F, the oil should come about halfway up the sides of the skillet. Adjust the amount in accordance with the skillet size. Combine garlic and parsley (persillade) in small mixing bowl and set aside.

Wash chicken pieces in cool water, pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk egg, evaporated milk and water. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour in a separate bowl. One piece at a time, starting with heaviest pieces, dip chicken into egg wash, squeeze, dip into flour and place gently in skillet. Do not overcrowd skillet.

Maintain temperature of 350 F. Use tongs and long fork to turn chicken often for 7-8 minutes. Remove chicken from oil with tongs, pierce with fork and squeeze. Place chicken back in oil approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Chicken is done when no longer hissing and juices run clear. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Immediately top with a sprinkle of garlic and parsley mixture. Continue until all the chicken is cooked.
Garnish each piece with a slice of dill pickle.

Related links:
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe at American Gourmand
Austin Leslie related links:
Great Chefs of New Orleans: Austin Leslie
Austin Leslie Obituary at Egullet (Pictures)
Jason Perlow’s pictures from Jacques-Imo’s and Pampy’s Creole Kitchen
Pictures of Austin Leslie’s Jazz Funeral
Austin Leslie Obituary thread at Mr. Lake’s Nonpompous New Orleans Food Forum.