Flavorful seafood recipes, from grilled oysters with spicy tarragon butter to a Cajun shrimp-and-crab gumbo.
Food & Wine
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Creole Shrimp with Garlic and Lemon
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."
Bubba Hiers serves fantastic grilled Gulf Coast oysters smothered in butter and Parmesan cheese at Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah. Bobby Flay modifies the recipe by topping his oysters with a blend of butter, tarragon and hot sauce, then returning them to the grill so the butter melts into little pools in the shells.
"Deep in the Louisiana bayou, Cajuns still live off the land—trapping, shrimping, crabbing and hunting," says Andrew Zimmern. "Cooks make gumbo with nutria, a giant, water-dwelling rodent. It's a dish of need, not want. I learned my gumbo techniques from a trapper's wife, but I use oysters and crab; no rodent required."
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.
Oysters are a prominent part of many Gulf Coast holiday meals, and they play a big role in New Orleans chef John Besh's dinner. As a child, he 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.
John Folse, who owns the New Orleans-based specialty-food company Chef John Folse & Co., learned all about Cajun ingredients while growing up in a trapper's cabin in St. James Parish, Louisiana. After opening his first restaurant, Lafitte's Landing, Folse sought out a hot sauce that he could use in his elegant French-Cajun dishes. He automatically thought of the long skinny bottle of Louisiana Hot Pepper Sauce that was a staple on his family's dinner table because it seemed to go with everything. Folse located that sauce, but found that he liked a newer Tabasco-mixed chile version, called Louisiana Gold Pepper Sauce, even better.
A classic Southern shrimp boil involves cooking a kettle of shrimp, corn and sausage with pickling spices, notably bay leaf, cloves and mustard seed. Here, all the ingredients are tucked inside foil packets, seasoned with Old Bay and cooked right on the grill.