Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse

Emeril Lagasse

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Chef: Emeril Lagasse Restaurants: Emeril’s, Emeril’s Delmonico, NOLA Restaurant (New Orleans); Emeril’s Orlando, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (Orlando); Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, Delmonico Steakhouse, Table 10, Lagasse’s Stadium (Las Vegas); Emeril’s Chop House, Emeril’s Italian Table, Burgers and More by Emeril (Bethlehem, PA) Background: Commander’s Palace (New Orleans) Education: Johnson & Wales University Who taught you to cook? What is the most important thing you learned from them? My mom. When I was probably about 8 years old, she taught me how to make a vegetable soup, mostly from veggies out of the garden. I learned that food equates to passion, and passion equates to how people feel. She was Portuguese, so she cooked a lot of Portuguese food, particularly around the holidays. There were also staples every week, like caldo verde, and pork and clams, or pork and periwinkles. She often made a dish she called favish, which was favas stewed down with tomatoes and garlic; that’s still one of my favorites. What was the first dish you ever cooked by yourself? I worked at a lot of restaurants. Back then, all of the restaurants had a version of French onion soup, so I learned how to make it from probably ten different chefs. Some used beef stock, some chicken, some a combination. Some cooked the onions longer, some shorter, some used allspice—there were so many twists on it. Then the day came when I had to make my own French onion soup and put my own stamp on it. I haven’t made it in a long time, but it’s still one of my favorites, especially when it’s chilly. Mine’s a little different from when I moved to New Orleans and took over Commander’s Palace. They had more Creole seasonings, and the stock was creamier, because they used milk in conjunction with the stock. I use three-quarters beef stock and one-quarter chicken stock. Cutting it a bit with chicken stock doesn’t make it as heavy; I like it a little lighter and not as dense. Sometimes I’ll even go 30-70 with it. I cook the onions a good 20 minutes, so they get color and you extract as much sweetness as you can. They’re probably not quite to the darkness of milk chocolate. And I’m old-fashioned: I still think the best cheese for the crouton is Gruyère. What is the best dish for a neophyte home cook to try? Perfecting a roast chicken with vegetables is an art. I have a cast-iron vertical chicken roaster, but I’ve also used a basic roasting pan that I’ll line with my potatoes and root vegetables. If the root vegetables are large, I’ll either cut them or blanch them a little so they all cook evenly. Depending on the size of the chicken, 50 minutes to an hour is ideal. You’ve really got to rub the seasoning into it. Some herbs inside the carcass is nice, like thyme or a little rosemary, then sea salt and cracked pepper. Sometimes I do citrus like orange or lemon; sometimes I’ll squeeze the citrus juice on the outside before I rub the seasoning on. I recently started doing it in a pressure cooker. Americans are still freaked out about using those. But I’ve used it on a busy school day like Monday, when my kids have sports and music after school. I’ve perfected a pressure-cooker chicken with root veggies that I can have on the dinner table in about 20 minutes. What’s a dish that defines your cooking style? My cooking style is American school, classically trained. When I moved to New Orleans in ’82, I built on the foundation of Creole and Cajun cooking. I wouldn’t say that I’m a Cajun or Creole cook. I do cook that style of food, but I’d say it’s a bit more modern-rustic. So it has deep flavors, in a very rustic style, but with modern approaches. I don’t necessarily use dark roux in everything. It’s a bit lightened up. But as I continue to keep evolving and getting older, my style becomes even more simple. I rely on the soil more now than ever. When crawfish is in season, I wouldn’t need do fried crawfish tails. I might do a crawfish bordelaise that was light and delicious, with homemade pasta. Or when soft-shell crabs are in season, most people in New Orleans would fry or smoke them. I might grill them and do a very light sauce of satsuma orange and some beautiful vegetables. What’s the most important skill you need to be a great cook? You have to understand that there’s a lot to learn. There’s no question, but you have to work hard. You have to read a lot, and more important, I think you have to have a mentor. Is there a culinary skill or type of dish that you wish you were better at? I think what keeps me interested after all these years is that I’ve realized there’s just so much in this business that remains to be learned. I don’t take anything for granted, so I’m constantly learning and working on ingredients and other dishes from other cultures. I’m not a very good Asian cook. I have basic skills and techniques, but I’m nowhere near where I would love to be. What is your current food obsession? The past several years, I’ve been renting a house once a year in Spain. My family and I have gone there for a couple to three weeks at a shot. I love the people of Spain—the people and their passion. There’s a little island off the coast of Barcelona called Ibiza. The seafood is simple but incredible. You really understand what paella is when you have it there. I also go to France at least two times a year, try to go to Italy at least once a year. I still think those are the grandmother and grandfather of cuisines—French is the grandfather, Italian the grandmother. What are your talents besides cooking? I love to fish. Fly or line, it doesn’t matter. I fish a lot in the Gulf, but I would fish in a lake, too. It’s a nice way to understand the ocean. I have a tremendous respect for it. You were so active in bringing attention to the Gulf after the BP spill; how is the fishing there now? It’s actually been pretty good. It’s been really good. We’re starting to see more and more life come back, so it’s been very encouraging. I’m out there a lot, and I haven’t seen any oil. I don’t know where it went, but it’s probably safer now than ever, because they are testing and retesting all the time, the water and the species, etc., to make sure everything’s cool. Name one secret-weapon ingredient. Fresh bay leaves. I have a [bay] laurel tree growing in my yard. I use the leaves in soups, stews; I just like the flavor that they bring out. It’s a flavor that most people don’t recognize. A lot of that is because most use dried bay leaves. But there’s nothing like a fresh one. It smells almost like holly. What ingredient will people be talking about in five years? Why? Hopefully, guinea hen. If I see it on a menu, I’ll order it, but I don’t see it too often. I like the taste and texture. It’s richer than chicken, with more dark meat. Right now, at least around the Gulf Coast, the hot new fish right now is called wreckfish. You can’t find it a lot on the menu because you have to dive for them more than you can hook them. And they’re very deep, so you can’t net them. What’s the best house cocktail, wine or beer, and why? Well, I’m a big wine drinker and collector. I’m a big Burgundy fan—I love all wine, but I would tend to go more toward red or white Burgundy. But I also like American Pinots—I’m a big fan of Kosta Browne, Williams Selyem, Patz & Hall, Domaine Serene. I like Pride [Mountain Vineyards]. But I’m not a snobby collector; I just collect what I want to drink. My wife is on a kick right now with this Hendrick’s gin, tonic, soda, mint and cucumber. We muddle the mint with a piece of cucumber to incorporate those flavors into the gin. What is your favorite snack? Zapp’s potato chips. What is the most cherished souvenir you’ve brought back from a trip? I recently did a dinner with Norman Van Aken for his tenth anniversary. Someone at the dinner who had been close to James Beard gave me one of Beard’s French chef’s knives. If you could invent an imaginary restaurant for your next project, what would it be? I would make it supermodern, superfun, with modern influences both in textiles and hard surfaces, other design aspects. I was in the countryside a couple of weeks ago in the northeast, and often wondered if I could just take one of those old barns and turn in it into a modern restaurant.
Shrimp Creole
Rating: Unrated
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In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: Before he was a television food mega-star, Emeril Lagasse made a name for himself as the chef at the legendary Commander's Palace in New Orleans, arguably the city's best restaurant at the time. Lagasse was a master of "haute Creole" cooking, a complex blend of Creole and Cajun with signature dishes such as baked redfish en papillote and bread pudding soufflé. (The soufflé is still on the Commander's Palace menu today.) On a visit to New York City in 1984, Lagasse visited the Food & Wine test kitchen and shared several recipes, including his Shrimp Creole. The spicy Creole sauce has layers of flavor built on a foundation of the Cajun flavor trinity — onion, celery, and green bell pepper — mixed with garlic and sautéed in butter until tender. The Creole sauce can be made through step 4 and chilled for up to 4 days, or can be frozen for up to a month. This recipe makes more Creole seasoning than you'll need; save the remainder in an air-tight container.
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Creole Seafood Seasoning
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In 2018, Food & Wine named this recipe one of our 40 best: This creole seafood seasoning is in integral part of Emeril Lagasse’s classic Shrimp Creole recipe, but feel free to try it on any seafood you like. Punches of spice from paprika and cayenne are balanced with thyme and oregano for a delicious Creole flavor.
There are just three simple parts to this elegant dish from star chef Emeril Lagasse. The ricotta and pea mash and the emerald-green chive oil can be made well in advance, so the only last-minute task is cooking the scallops. Slideshow:  More Scallop Recipes 
Lemon-Blueberry Bread Pudding
Rating: Unrated
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A recipe from Emeril Lagasse, from the 2007 Classic in Aspen. Emeril Lagasse: Lemon Bread PuddingPlus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
Compared to many traditional stuffings, this one is light in flavor. The bright notes of the spinach and lemon really shine and perfectly complement the tangy artichoke hearts. And the Brie just sends it through the roof! Serve with grilled leg of lamb on a spring evening.Plus: More Vegetable Recipes and Tips
Piri Piri Sauce
Rating: Unrated
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A recipe from Emeril Lagasse, from the 2007 Classic in Aspen.Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips
Yuzu Ponzu
Rating: Unrated
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A recipe from Emeril Lagasse, from the 2007 Classic in Aspen. Emeril Lagasse: Lettuce WrapsPlus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips
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Steak Diane
Rating: Unrated
3249
When planning the reopening of the Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans, Emeril Lagasse wanted to bring back the tableside service that was so popular in dining rooms long ago. Steak cooked Diane-style has come to mean sautéing thinly sliced or pounded filet mignon in butter and then flambéing and basting it in a rich Cognac sauce; Lagasse adds sliced mushrooms to the pan for more rich flavor. Amazing Steak Recipes
Yuzu Ponzu
Rating: Unrated
New!
A recipe from Emeril Lagasse, from the 2007 Classic in Aspen. Emeril Lagasse: Lettuce WrapsPlus: More Appetizer Recipes and Tips
Steak Diane
Rating: Unrated
3249
When planning the reopening of the Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans, Emeril Lagasse wanted to bring back the tableside service that was so popular in dining rooms long ago. Steak cooked Diane-style has come to mean sautéing thinly sliced or pounded filet mignon in butter and then flambéing and basting it in a rich Cognac sauce; Lagasse adds sliced mushrooms to the pan for more rich flavor. Amazing Steak Recipes
The St. John's Athletic Club was a favorite hangout of Emeril Lagasse and his parents. He was inspired to create this kale and bean soup by Ines de Costa, the chef and owner of the club, who makes a great one with red and white dried beans. Warming Soup Recipes
Southern-Style Corn Chowder
Rating: Unrated
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This is the perfect soup to make in the late summer months when corn is at its prime and you can find fresh ears for sale at roadside stands and farmers' markets. Chef Emeril Lagasse fashioned this version after traditional Southern-style corn soup, because it pairs corn with one of his very best friends, bacon. Oh, baby, talk about a match made in heaven! If you can't find fresh ears of corn, you could substitute frozen, but the taste won't be quite the same.Plus: More Soup Recipes and Tips
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Shrimp-and-Corn Bisque
Rating: Unrated
2
Emeril Lagasse, star of Food Network's The Essence of Emeril, uses a rich, homemade shrimp stock here, which makes all the difference in this creamy, corn-flecked shrimp soup. Warming Soup Recipes
Emeril Lagasse sautés radishes and their greens with bacon, shallots and orange juice until they’re perfectly crisp-tender.More Radish Recipes to Try
Rice Pudding
Rating: Unrated
2
This classic dessert is served at almost every Portuguese celebration, but it originated in the Minho province, where Emeril Lagasse's mother's family is from. The pudding is very sweet—as are most desserts in Portugal—but this recipe has been modified to American tastes.Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips
Pork and Clam Cataplana
Rating: Unrated
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This dish relies on a lot of good Portuguese olive oil; with the wine, it creates a delicious sauce to soak up with crusty Portuguese bread. This recipe originated in the southern Algarve region, where cooks use a special copper ban called a cataplana. Since few people in the U.S. have them, Emeril Lagasse suggests trying a deep skillet with a tight lid.Plus: More Pork Recipes and Tips
Piri Piri Pasta
Rating: Unrated
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A recipe from Emeril Lagasse, from the 2007 Classic in Aspen. Plus:  More Seafood Recipes and Tips 
Pickled Jalapeños
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One Christmas season, Emeril Lagasse came upon a silver martini shaker and handblown glasses at a New Orleans antiques store. He bought them, added a jar of his pickled jalapeños and created the perfect martini ensemble for a friend who loves the classic cocktail. Cocktail Party Recipes
Emeril Lagasse tosses pasta with sausage, butternut squash, sage, and pecans for a terrific, hearty dish.
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Pan-Crispy Fish
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Oysters Rockefeller
Rating: Unrated
2
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. Video:  Emeril Lagasse: Oysters Rockefeller 
These twice-baked potatoes are so large and filling that some of Emeril Lagasse's customers have ordered them as an entrée. The reason Lagasse calls them overstuffed is that he adds an extra baked potato to the stuffing mixture — feel free to scale them down by baking and mashing only four (instead of the five used here), or use smaller potatoes.
Emeril Lagasse usually serves this salad at room temperature as a first course with slices of smoked ham and cheese, and crusty bread—Portuguese or not. Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
Emeril Lagasse uses boneless short ribs for this dish. The butcher at any market will remove the ribs for you.Plus: More Beef Recipes and Tips