There are many ways to savor the flavor of the Northshore, where fabulous chefs take an abundance of fresh, high-quality local ingredients and make every meal a celebration for the taste buds. Here are some recipes to try in your kitchen at home,
courtesy of some of the Northshore's favorite dining spots: Hambone, LOLA, Dakota, and Meribo restaurants.
"Oysters Marci is a dish I developed back at my days at Commanders Palace at the Chef's Table...The core flavors at play here are classic New Orleans: fennel, Herbsaint, bacon, mushrooms and fresh herbs," explains Chef Hidalgo. It's one of the most popular dishes at Hambone, and named for his wife and business partner.
One dozen medium-sized Gulf oysters. Set aside while you make the stuffing.
For the stuffing:
Heat large, heavy-bottomed pot before adding in drizzle of olive oil to coat the bottom. Add diced bacon. (Chef’s hint: Freeze bacon before using to make it easy to dice.) Stir with a wooden spoon to render the bacon, then add the diced onion and fennel. Continue to stir at medium heat until fennel and onions are nicely caramelized.
Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Allow garlic to sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the mushrooms. The mushrooms may need additional oil to saute fully. When the mushrooms are tender and have reduced a bit in size – about 5 minutes – add in the Herbsaint.
Reduce the liquid down until it is almost gone, then add cream and reduce by half.
Remove the pot from the heat and add in the herbs, Parmesan, bread crumbs and cayenne pepper. Taste and add more salt and black pepper if needed.
Assembling the oysters:
Wash the whole oyster shells in an icy, salty water bath. Use an oyster knife to open the shell of the oysters at the hinge. Be careful here and make sure to protect your opposite hand with a towel. Once you've broken the suction of the oyster shells, slide the tip of the knife into the opening and release the oyster from the connection above. Repeat for the connection below. If necessary, give the oysters a quick dip in clean icy, salty water to remove any dirt or bits of shell. Use a large spoon to fill the shells with your stuffing on top of the raw oysters. Use the convex curve of the spoon to shape the stuffing on the shell to make them look nice.
You can cook the oysters on a grill or smoker or in the oven. The oysters are ready when the stuffing has turned a nice dark color and crusted over and the oyster has begun to bubble on the edge where the stuffing meets the shell.
Remove from heat and serve. Serves 4 as an appetizer. Enjoy!
This classically Southern dessert is deceptively simple to make and oh so hard to resist. It's a popular choice at Nealy Frentz's restaurant, Lola, in downtown Covington.
Ooey Gooey Filling (recipe follows)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square pan.
Blend the cake mix, egg, and butter in mixing bowl. Press the crumbly mixture on
the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Spread the filling over the crumb mixture
in the pan. Bake until golden brown and firm, about forty-five minutes to one hour.
Cool for thirty minutes and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Makes about 2 cups
Combine butter, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a mixing bowl and
beat until smooth.
From Fun, Funky, and Fabulous: New Orleans’ Casual Restaurant Recipes by Jyl Benson, photography by Sam Hanna, © 2015 by Jyl Benson, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.
Using a meat mallet or hammer, crack open crab shells until meat is exposed. In a 1-gallon stockpot, heat olive oil; add cracked crabs and sauté for 5 minutes. Add vegetables and bay leaves; continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
Add brandy, white wine, and water; bring to simmer over medium heat and cook for 45 minutes. Using a skimmer remove crabs and vegetables from stock.
In a small sauté skillet, melt butter and blend in flour until smooth and creamy; simmer over low heat for one minute.
Add mixture to stock using a wire whisk until roux is dissolved. Add heavy cream and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove outside rind from Brie and discard, cut cheese into 1” cubes and add to stock stirring constantly until cheese completely melts. Season soup with salt, white pepper, and cayenne.
Strain soup through a fine strainer; add jumbo lump crabmeat and serve.
Yields 1 gallon.
Chop one onion and slice the other into long, thin strips. Chop the green bell pepper and slice the red and yellow peppers into long, thin strips. Chop two of the celery stalks and slice the other two into strips.
Add 3 tablespoons oil to a deep skillet. Over a medium high heat sauté the red and yellow pepper strips, the onion strips and the celery strips. Remove from the pan and reserve.
Make a roux by adding the remainder of the oil into the pan combined with the flour. Cook together until the roux is a milk chocolate color. Add the chopped onions and cook until the roux darkens to bittersweet chocolate brown. Add chopped celery and chopped bell pepper. Add the tomatoes and juice, squeezing each by hand into the pot to crush. Zest and juice one lemon and add to the sauce with the garlic and herbs. Simmer together for 25-30 minutes. Add the sautéed onion, celery and bell pepper and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Add green onions and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Place the redfish fillets into the courtboullion. Spoon some of the sauce on top and top each fillet with a lemon slice. Cover and cook for an additional 5 -10 minutes. Correct seasonings – salt, pepper, and hot sauce – and serve over rice.
Alternate method – bake or sauté the fish separately and serve with the sauce on top cooked fish.
From Louisiana Eats! The People, the Food and Their Stories by Poppy Tooker, c. 2013 Poppy Tooker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.
Active Time: 45 min Total Time: 2 hours
Split the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Split those halves lengthwise so you have 4 even pieces. If you are using delicata squash for your garnish, cut into rings approximately ½” thick, and scoop the seeds out with a spoon. If you are using acorn squash, you will want to cut it into wedges about 1” wide at their widest point. Next, place squash on an oiled baking sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven, turning once halfway through, for 30 minutes or until they are fork tender. The delicata or acorn squash may be done before the butternut. Once the butternut squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop the flesh and put into a food processor until smooth. You will need 1 cup of the squash puree. The rest can be seasoned and eaten as a side dish later. Set aside the squash garnish for later use.
Fry the country ham or prosciutto in a deep fryer, shallow pan with a bit of oil, or bake on a baking sheet until it is crispy like a chip. Do the same thing with the sage leaves. Set both of them aside until it is time to eat.
Now on to the risotto. Combine both stocks in a small pot and bring to a low simmer, just so it is hot. This is so you can add hot stock to your risotto as it cooks without dropping the temperature of the risotto in your pan. In a large flat-bottomed saucepan, over medium to low heat, sweat the shallot in the butter and oil with a pinch of salt until translucent. Be careful to avoid getting any color on the shallots. Add the Arborio to the pan, stirring it to coat with the oil in the pan, and keep it moving for 3-4 minutes to toast the rice. Add about 1/2 cup of stock at first and continue to add stock slowly, keeping just enough liquid in it to keep it from sticking, stirring constantly but slowly. Once the risotto is almost fully cooked (15-20 minutes) add the squash puree, cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano and stir well to combine it all. Cook another minute or two until done. Season to taste with kosher salt. Risotto should not stand up like mashed potatoes. It should spread out to fill whatever vessel it is served in.
Spoon the risotto into bowls, then top with rings of delicata squash, crisp ham, fried sage leaves, and crumbled ricotta salata cheese. Enjoy!
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated. Chill before use.
In a pot with a heavy bottom, add butter, onion, and garlic. Let sweat down, then add bacon. Cook 5 minutes, then add remaining ingredients. Cook and reduce down until thick and syrupy in texture. This process takes about 20-30 minutes on medium to low heat.
Combine all ingredients in a pot and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, place in a container and chill in ice bath. Store in fridge.
Layer pimento cheese, bacon marmalade, and pickled red onion on top of toasted baguette slices. Serve and enjoy!
Best to prepare pimento cheese, bacon marmalade, and pickled red onion the day before serving. Assemble and serve the day of the event.
Makes 20 appetizer-sized portions.