From Emeril Lagasse's muffuletta to a shrimp-and-crab gumbo, here are great recipes from top New Orleans chefs.
Food & Wine
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The muffuletta is the quintessential New Orleans sandwich of cured meats, cheese and tangy olive salad piled onto a sturdy Italian loaf. Emeril Lagasse’s delicious muffuletta is packed with briny olives and pickled vegetables.
Jason McCullar reinvents shrimp remoulade, the classic New Orleans cocktail-party dish. Instead of tossing his vermouth-poached shrimp with a mayonnaise dressing, he makes a ginger-spiked dipping sauce.
This renowned baked oyster dish was created at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans in 1899 by the proprietor, Jules Alciatore. According to legend, the dish was created as a substitute for baked snails, which were hard to obtain from France. It was named in honor of John D. Rockefeller, at that time one of the world’s richest men, because of the sauce’s intense richness. The following recipe is the old Delmonico restaurant’s take on the dish, with the Rockefeller sauce base used not only to make the Oysters Rockefeller appetizer, but also used as a spread on toast to create canapés.
Southern red velvet cake is usually a tall layer cake, slathered with cream cheese icing and studded with pecans. In Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing’s deconstructed version, the cake is low (like a torte), the pecans are coated in caramel to make pecan praline and the cream cheese icing is transformed into cream cheese-flavored ice cream.
Oysters are a prominent part of many Gulf Coast meals. As a child, John Besh loved when family friend Mrs. Slaughter made little puff pastry cups and filled them with oysters in cream sauce. In this version, he places the oysters in mini tartlet shells, then tops them with a creamy horseradish sauce and crispy bread crumbs.
To create the flavorings for these ribs, chef Donald Link combines eight spices for a rub and prepares a barbecue sauce with homemade pork stock. An easier way is to cut back the number of spices in the rub to the five essentials, and use canned beef broth in the barbecue sauce.
Eco-minded chefs are cooking with wild American shrimp, but not just for ethical reasons. As Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans says, “They taste cleaner and crisper, since they swim in the tides.”
At his flagship New Orleans restaurant, August, John Besh makes his chopped salad with 21 different kinds of vegetables and herbs. This easier recipe cuts the number of vegetables back to eight, but the salad is still fantastic.
Justin Devillier upgrades classic Southern cheese straws with Sharifi’s Iranian spices at his New Orleans restaurant La Petite Grocery. He sometimes swaps out the cardamom for equal amounts of ground coriander or fennel seed. “I’ve always assumed cheese straws originated in the Carolinas,” says Devillier, “but that may be because my mother-in-law always brings them when she visits from South Carolina.”
John Besh serves this lightly sweet, fruity white-wine sangria over plenty of ice cubes. “Use Viognier—it has a nice balance of fruit and acidity,” he says.
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Crème Fraîche Biscuits
When they’re not adding a Southern ingredient to a French recipe, chefs Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing are adding a French ingredient to a Southern recipe. Here, crème fraîche takes the place of buttermilk in these extremely fluffy biscuits.