My New Orleans John Besh

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My New Orleans John Besh
My New Orleans
T h e
c o o k b o o k
200 of My Favorite Recipes & Stories from My Hometown
John Besh
John Besh
is the best of a new
generation of New Orleans chefs. His worldclass, award-winning cuisine springs from roots
deep in the food culture of the place where he
was born. My New Orleans: The Cookbook is
Chef Besh’s tribute to and celebration of the
food he loved as a boy growing up on the
bayous, refined in his years of study in America
and in Europe, and brought home to his beloved
city, where he has passionately thrown himself
into the rebuilding of post-Katrina New
Orleans, and to making Restaurant August,
Lüke, Besh Steak, and La Provence indelible
parts of Louisiana’s restaurant landscape.
After attending the Culinary Institute of
America and apprenticeships in Germany and
France, John led a squad of infantry marines in
combat during Operation Desert Storm as a
non-commissioned officer of the U.S. Marine
Corps. In 1999 Food & Wine magazine named
John Besh one of the “Top 10 Best Chefs in
America,” in 2006 Besh won the James Beard
Award as Best Chef, Southeast, and he went on
to win the battle against Mario Batali on Food
Network’s Iron Chef. Gourmet magazine ranked
Restaurant August in its “Top 50 Restaurants
in the United States” in 2003 and 2006, and
Zagat New Orleans 2008 ranks Restaurant
August #1 in food and service. Besh recently
received the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s award for 2008 Restaurateur of the Year.
National Publicity, Advertising,
and Marketing Campaign
• 100,000 copy first printing
• Six-city author tour: New York, Washington, D.C.,
Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston
• National television program appearances
• National and local radio interviews
• National print magazine coverage
• National and local newspaper coverage
• Online and social media marketing campaign
• Print and online advertising with regional and
cooking publications
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this
book will be donated to Café Reconcile, a New
Orleans–based non-profit organization dedicated to providing at-risk youth an opportunity
to learn life and interpersonal skills, and
operational training for successful entry into
the hospitality and restaurant industries.
http://www.cafereconcile.com
Dear Friends,
This book is the story of a dreamy, starry-eyed boy brought up in the shadows of
New Orleans, surrounded by cypress knees and tupelo trees, good dinners and
great friends. My life has been dramatically shaped by our multicultural heritage.
Everything that I cook and eat, see and smell, reminds me of where I come from
and more or less dictates where I’m going.
I grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.
My childhood revolved around the lake, and I spent many hours shrimping in its
waters and fishing along its shores. I learned to cook from my mom and my grandmother, and from the men I hunted with, who held that if you hunt it and kill it, a
boy like me had better know how to clean it and cook it. Ours was a house of great
food—we celebrated everything from births to deaths around great food.
My ideas of New Orleans’s cooking come directly from the New Orleans table.
My cooking draws on decades of learning and mastering cooking techniques that I
felt certain would help me years down the road. I restlessly search my mind’s
catalog of everything I’ve ever tasted or cooked, so that when I see a tomato at its
ripest state, my mind runs through literally thousands of preparations that could
work for this here tomato. Some people may look up in the sky and notice a
mallard duck, but I see a slow-roasted duckling with lots of hearty herbs, cooked
down in a gravy and served over rice.
My goal in launching Restaurant August in 2001 was to have a world-class
place that could compete with the great restaurants of New Orleans. But Katrina,
of course, changed everything. When the aftermath of that devastating storm
threatened our fishermen and farmers, our shrimpers and oystermen, it seemed
urgent to help preserve and protect our unique culinary heritage, its local ingredients, and its authentic culture.
After Katrina, being from New Orleans became the focus of my identity. The
truth is I am from here and I cook from here—our ingredients and our traditions. I
believe our city is a true national treasure: We have one of the few native urban
cultures—and cuisines—that still thrives in this country. I cook New Orleans
food my way, revering each ingredient as it reaches the ripeness of its season,
which is how My New Orleans: The Cookbook unfolds, from Crawfish to Reveillon.
No other place on earth is like New Orleans. Welcome to the flavors of my home.
John Besh
contents
Pa s s o v e r S e d e r :
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
how I cook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
b a s i c r e c i p e s : Flavor bases are the foundation of my
cooking. Here you’ll find my Thoughts on Roux; Basic
Stocks: Chicken, Fish, Shellfish, Veal; Basic Creole Spices;
Basic Pan Sauces: Shellfish, Oyster, Crab; Basic Louisiana
White Rice; Basic Homemade Pasta; Basic Sauce Ravigote
and Remoulade; Basic Vinaigrette and 7 variations
Chapter 1: Crawfish & Rice . . . . 30
“My Birthday and the Crawfish Boil” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
s i d e b a r : Crawfish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Chapter 3: Strawberries &
Citrus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Blood Orange Crème Brûlée . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Strawberry Shortcake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Becnel’s Orange Blossom Fritters
with Orange Blossom Honey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Louisiana Citrus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82, 87
Watermelon Strawberry Sorbet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Wild Strawberry Flambée
over Lemon Ricotta–Filled Crêpes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Simple Strawberry and Creole Cream Cheese
Ice Cream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Strawberry Millefeuille . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
French Crawfish Boil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Ambrosia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
M ASTER REC I PE : Crawfish Étouffée
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
42
Preserved Meyer Lemons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Ragout of Crawfish over Fresh Pasta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Local Goat Cheese Semifreddo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Warm Crawfish and Artichoke Salad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Chilled Blood Orange Soup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Crawfish Agnolotti with Morels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Louisiana Citrus Pots de Crème
with Lavender Madeleines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Rice Calas with Blackberry Filling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Chapter 2: Mardi Gras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
“Not Just Another Party” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
s i d e b a r : Grits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Grandmother Walters’s Biscuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Beignets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Jalapeño Cheese Grits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Slow-Cooked Veal Grillades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Green Onion Sausage and Shrimp Gravy
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Oeufs au Plat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
King Cake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Timmy’s Brandy Milk Punch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Passover Fried Artichokes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
s i d e b a r s : Ponchatoula Strawberries;
Crawfish Boil en Gelée (Terrine of Crawfish) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Red Beans and Rice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Creole Matzo Ball Soup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Whole Roast Gulf Coast Lamb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
Crawfish Boil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Belle River Crawfish Pie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Homemade Matzos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
“Strawberry Shortcake on the Champs Élysées”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Strawberry Ravioli
with Meyer Lemons and Pistachios
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fig Charoses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Chapter 4: Feast Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
“On Faith and Food”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
s i d e b a r : Gulf Coast Lamb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
S t. J o s e p h ’ s Day :
118
Pasta Milanese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Mudrica (St. Joseph’s Sawdust) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Stuffed Artichokes with Crabmeat and Shrimp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
St. Joseph’s Fig Cookies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Easter Lunch:
Cauliflower and Crawfish Soup . . . . . . 106
Daube of Rabbit
with White Asparagus and Champagne Vinaigrette
. . . . . . .
109
Ragout of Artichokes with Fava Beans and Morels. . . . . . . . . . 110
Slow-Cooked Baby Goat with Spring Vegetables . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
White Chocolate and Meyer Lemon Semifreddo
with Vanilla-Poached Berries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Chapter 5: Shrimp Season . . . . . . 122
“Troubled Waters” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
s i d e b a r s : Shrimp; Tabasco
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132, 136
M ASTER REC I PE : Shrimp, Chicken,
and Andouille Jambalaya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Louisiana Shrimp and Andouille over Grits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Besh Barbecue Shrimp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Shrimp Boil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Hot and Spicy Lemongrass Shrimp Soup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Fried Shrimp “Spiders”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Jumbo Stuffed Shrimp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Louisiana Soft-Shell Shrimp
with Sweet Chile Salt and Pepper Sauce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
Chapter 6: Creole
Tomatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
“Call It Creole and It’ll Sell”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
s i d e b a r : Creole Tomatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
148
Salad of Heirloom Tomatoes,
Cheese, and Country Ham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Cherry Tomato Five-Minute Sauce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
Crabmeat-Stuffed Tomatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Terrine of Cherokee Purple Tomatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Green Tomato and Pepper Jam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Shrimp Creole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Chilled Tomato Soup with Tapenade
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fried Snow White Tomatoes with Aïoli
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
156
159
Chapter 7: Speckled Trout &
Redfish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
“We Fish to Eat” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
s i d e b a r : Speckled Trout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
169
Trout Pontchartrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Trout Amandine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Charcoal-Grilled Redfish with Corn and Ginger Salad . . . . 171
Mom’s Redfish Courtbouillon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Crab-and-Shrimp-Stuffed Flounder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
Pan Roast of Lemonfish with Ginger–Pea Risotto . . . . . . . . . . 176
Breaded Red Snapper
with Shrimp, Fennel, and Oranges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Rare Seared Tuna with Crushed Figs
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
179
Louisiana Blackfish with Sweet Corn and Caviar . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Pan-Fried Croaker
with Sweet Corn Hush Puppies and Cole Slaw . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
Pompano with Jumbo Shrimp and Two Celeries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
Chapter 8: The Urban
Farm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
“The Fruits of Their Labor” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
s i d e b a r s : Watermelon; Okra
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194, 200
Grilled Watermelon, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Salad
. . . .
194
August Chopped Salad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Petit Farci of Summer Vegetables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
White Squash and Shrimp Soup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
Cornmeal-Fried Okra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Stewed Okra and Tomatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Tempura-Fried Squash Blossoms
with Crabmeat Stuffing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Silver Queen Corn, Orzo, and Crab Macque Choux . . . . . . . 202
Caldo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Roasted Red Gypsy Peppers,
Arugula, and Country Ham Salad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Grilled LSU Fig Salad with Ricotta and Endive
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
204
Charentais Melon, Muscat Wine,
and Wild Berries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Chapter 15: Boucherie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
“A Smokehouse of My Own” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
s i d e b a r s : Berkshire Hogs; Andouille Sausage . . . . 338, 345
Chapter 9: Crab Season . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
Smoked Pork Shoulder with Purple Plum Glaze. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334
“Blue Crabs and the Fourth of July”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Pork Shoulder Rillettes
s i d e b a r : Blue Crabs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
212
Lüke Homemade Bratwurst . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336
Crab Boil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
Lüke Choucroute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336
M ASTER REC I PE : Crab Bisque
Crabmeat Maison
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
215
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
216
Chapter 13:
Gumbo Weather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
Stuffed Blue Crabs Grandmère . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
“Duck Blind Talk” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Gnocchi with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Truffle . . . . . . . . . . 218
Buster Crab BLT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
Busters and Grits
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
221
Spicy Crabmeat with Vegetable Pasta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Crabmeat and Frog Étouffée . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Crab Fat Butter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Chapter 10: Chanterelles
& Blackberries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
“Out of the Kitchen and Into the Woods”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
s i d e b a r : Chanterelles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
232
Chanterelles, Chicken, and Dumplings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
Jaegerschnitzel (Hunter’s Chops). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
Salad of Grilled Bobwhite Quail and Chanterelles . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Chanterelle Mushroom Tartlets
and Pork Cracklins Salad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
Honey Island Chanterelle Soup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
Old-Fashioned Double-Crusted Blackberry Pie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Cornmeal White Chocolate Biscotti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Stewed Berries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Lemon Verbena Sorbet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Dewberry Streusel Pie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Jen’s Wild Berry Cream Pie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Hot Blueberry Pie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Chapter 11: Preserving
Summer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
Old-Fashioned Fig Preserves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Fig Glaze for Roast Meats and Fowl. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Brown Butter Fig Tart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Cane Syrup Fig Cake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
Golden Figs Baked in Brioche with Country Ham . . . . . . . . . . 254
Sugar Plums in Syrup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Berries Preserved in Red Wine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Watermelon Pickles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258
Mayhaw Jelly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
Granddaddy’s Quince Preserves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
Sport Pepper Sauce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260
French Toast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
Peach Jam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262
Peach Upside-Down Cake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
Blueberry Sorbet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
Chapter 12: Oyster Season . . . 266
“No More Oysters?”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
s i d e b a r : Oysters
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
276
Baked Oysters with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Aïoli . . . . 273
Oyster Gratin with Horseradish and Parmesan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274
Oyster and Artichoke Soup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
Oyster Stew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Crispy Fried Oyster Salad
with Louisiana Caviar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
“Granddaddy and the Fig”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246
Black Pepper–Seared Oysters
with Country Ham and Truffled Spoon Bread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
s i d e b a r : Figs
Grilled Oysters with Spicy Garlic Butter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
253
s i d e b a r s : Filé; Wild Ducks
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292, 296
M ASTER REC I PE :
Drew’s Chicken
and Smoked Sausage Gumbo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Blake’s Duck, Green Onion, and
Chicken Sausage Gumbo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Patrick’s Thanksgiving Poule d’Eau Gumbo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Mama Rochelle’s Stuffed Quail Gumbo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Seafood Gumbo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
Buttermilk Fried Quail with Artisanal Honey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294
Seared Breast of Wild Duck with Red Wine and Figs . . . . . 296
Boneless Roast Wood Duck Porchetta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298
Sugar and Spiced Duckling with Duck Foie Gras . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
Mallard Duck Breast with Peppers and Bacon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
335
Pork Cheek Dumplings, Ham Hock Pot Liquor,
and Mustard Greens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338
Fromage de Tête (Hog’s Head Cheese) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
Boudin Noir with Pommes Sautées
(Blood Sausage with Sautéed Apples and Potatoes) . . . . . . . . . 342
Crispy Pieds de Cochon (Pigs’ Feet) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
Chapter 16: Reveillon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 346
“Awake and Eat”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
s i d e b a r : Charolais Beef
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
353
C h r i s t m a s d i n n e r : Horseradish-Rubbed
Standing Charolais Rib Roast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353
M ASTER REC I PE :
Beef Daube Glacée
(Terrine of Beef Short Ribs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Hot Spiced Wine
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
My Not-So-Classic Turtle Soup
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
357
357
Shrimp Remoulade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 358
Grandmother’s Rabbit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
Popovers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359
Chapter 14: Thanksgiving . . . . . 304
Christmas Potatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
“Thanksgiving and the Berrigans”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
s i d e b a r : Mirlitons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
319
Pumpkin Soup with Crabmeat
313
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Whole Roast Stuffed Turkey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 314
Ragout of Root Vegetables, Pear, and Chestnuts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
Oyster Dressing Grandmère . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361
Père Roux Cake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
New Year’s Lunch:
Sazerac Cocktail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
Cracklins Corn Bread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
Oyster Pan Roast with Turnips and Apples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 316
Black-Eyed Peas with Louisiana Popcorn Rice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
Fall Greens Salad with Blue Cheese
and Pumpkin Seed Brittle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
Andouille-Smothered Cabbage
Slow-Cooked Beef Brisket . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 366
Mirliton and Shrimp Dressing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Brendan’s Bread Pudding
with Brown Butter Sticky Rum Sauce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
Crawfish Corn Bread Dressing
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
320
Spinach Madeleine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320
Cane Syrup–Creamed Sweet Potatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
322
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
325
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Pear Tart
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
366
acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368
Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
photo credits, index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 374
chapter 12
OYSTER
SEASON
Baked Oysters
with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Aïoli
p. 273
Oyster Gratin
with Horseradish and Parmesan
p. 274
Oyster and Artichoke Soup
p. 275
Oyster Stew
p. 276
Crispy Fried Oyster Salad
with Louisiana Caviar
p. 277
Black Pepper–Seared Oysters
with Country Ham and Truffled Spoon Bread
p. 278
Grilled Oysters
with Spicy Garlic Butter
p. 279
Oysters and August: The
dining room at Restaurant
August bustles at lunch
on Fridays, left and below.
Oysters in competent
hands at P&J Oyster, in the
French Quarter. Opposite,
New Orleans, 1947; photo:
Henri Cartier-Bresson,
Magnum Photos.
No More Oysters?
“After Katrina, we feared
my beloved local oyster had
disappeared, perhaps never
to return again.”
Tragedy! As if it weren’t enough to have our city swept
away by the floodwaters that followed Katrina when the
levees failed us, it was rumored that we’d lost our entire
oyster industry. Never could I have imagined life without a local oyster. What would become of my beloved
oyster loaf? I can’t picture home without Rockefellers,
Bienville, pan roasts, dressings, or oysters on the half
shell. Could we actually call this living if we had to do
without foot-long, overstuffed oyster po’boys? What
would happen to the Sunseri family, of P&J Oyster in
the French Quarter, or that superb oysterman Captain
Pete? What would Drago’s be without its grilled local
oysters and garlicky butter? Seriously, all we basically
have down here is great people and great food.
master recipe
DREW’S CHICKEN AND SMOKED
SAUSAGE GUMBO
Serves 10–12
Throughout this book, I’ve had a great deal to say about making the roux that’s the base of our gumbo—
and the other steps as well—but I’ll recap it here so that it can be useful every time you start to make our
signature dish. Yes, there are other thickeners besides flour that folks use for making their roux, but to my
palate, only a flour-based roux yields that traditional flavor. As for the fats in a roux, just about anything
works. I love rendered duck fat, chicken fat, or lard, but canola oil works nearly as well.
I always heat the oil first and whisk the flour into the hot oil. Not only does this speed up the
process; it yields that deep, dark chocolate-colored gumbo I love. I always add the onions first to the
dark roux, holding back the rest of the vegetables until the onion caramelizes. Otherwise, the water
in the vegetables will keep the onion from browning and releasing its sweet juices. I like to add filé
powder to the gumbo, then pass it at the table, too. Serve the gumbo hot with Louisiana rice; serve
potato salad on the side, if you like.
1 cup rendered chicken
fat or canola oil
1 cup flour
2 large onions, diced
1 large chicken, cut into
12 pieces
2 tablespoons Basic
Creole Spices
(page 23)
2 pounds spicy smoked
sausage, sliced ½ inch
thick
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers,
seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and
chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs
fresh thyme
3 quarts Basic Chicken
Stock (page 23)
2 bay leaves
6 ounces andouille
sausage, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh okra
1 tablespoon
Worcestershire
Salt
Freshly ground
black pepper
Filé powder (page 292)
Tabasco
4–6 cups cooked Basic
Louisiana White Rice
(page 25)
1. Make a roux by heating the chicken fat or oil in a
large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat.
Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately
begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate and
continue whisking until the roux takes on a deep
brown color, about 15 minutes. Add the onions,
stirring them into the roux with a wooden spoon.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring
until the roux is a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Season the chicken with Creole Spices. Add the
chicken to the pot, raise heat to moderate, and cook,
turning the pieces until browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the smoked sausage and stir for a minute before
adding the celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, and
garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the
thyme, Chicken Stock, and bay leaves. Bring the
gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat
to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir
occasionally and skim off the fat from the surface of
the gumbo every so often.
4. Add the andouille, okra, and Worcestershire
and season with salt and pepper, several dashes of
filé powder, and Tabasco. Simmer for another 45
minutes, continuing to skim the fat off the surface
of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in
bowls over rice. Pass more filé at the table.
MOMMA ROCHELLE’S
STUFFED QUAIL GUMBO
Serves 8
Here’s how recipes evolve: Momma Rochelle was
the Cajun mother-in-law of my mentor, chef Chris,
who brought his French finesse to her beloved quail
gumbo. Both the gumbo base and the stuffed quail
may be made a day or so ahead, just as long as you
don’t cook the quail until moments before you serve
it. Without a very rich duck stock or Chicken Stock,
this gumbo will not have the depth that it needs.
FOR THE GUMBO
½ cup canola oil
½ cup flour
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 green bell peppers,
seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
10 cups duck stock or
Basic Chicken Stock
(page 23)
¼ cup Worcestershire
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried
oregano
1 bay leaf
1 pound smoked pork
sausage links, sliced
into 2-inch-thick
rounds
½ cup thick-sliced okra
Salt
Freshly ground black
pepper
FOR THE STUFFED QUAIL
8 semi-boneless quail
Salt
Freshly ground
black pepper
1 tablespoon rendered
bacon fat
½ pound andouille
sausage, minced
3 cups cooked white rice
½ cup minced onion
¼ cup minced red bell
pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon thin-sliced
green onion
1 cup gumbo
1 cup dried bread
crumbs
1. For the gumbo, make a roux by heating the oil in a
large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat.
Whisk the flour into the hot oil. It will immediately
begin to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate and
continue whisking until the roux takes on a deep
brown color, about 15 minutes. Add the onions,
stirring them into the roux with a wooden spoon.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring
until the roux is a rich dark brown, about 10 minutes.
John Besh is deeply dedicated to preserving
the best local culinary traditions and ingredients that multicultural New Orleans has to
offer and encouraging everyone he meets to do
the same. Seafood gumbo, crawfish étouffée,
jambalaya, crab bisque, beignets, watermelon
pickles, fried oysters, red beans and rice—
these New Orleans classics Besh loves are
joined by strategies for more contemporary
dishes in the 200 delicious recipes found in
My New Orleans: The Cookbook, written by a
chef who knows everything about them and
who loves to share.
2. At this point the roux will begin to darken quickly,
so continue to stir while adding the celery, bell
peppers, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes,
then increase the heat to high and add duck stock or
Chicken Stock to the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil,
then reduce the heat to low.
3. Add the Worcestershire, thyme, oregano, bay leaf,
smoked sausage, and okra to the pot and simmer for
1½ hours. Stir occasionally and skim off the fat from
the surface of the gumbo every so often. Season with
salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat until ready
to serve.
My New Orleans: The Cookbook is a rich stew of
Besh’s charming, personal stories of his
childhood, his family and friends, and the
unique food history of the city and its cooking.
Throughout, Chef Besh is generous with the
kind of cooking advice that ensures every
home cook’s success with his recipes; the book
is punctuated with informative sidebars. The
photography goes beyond glorious images of
mouthwatering food to portray the farmers
and purveyors who raised the ingredients,
always giving My New Orleans a sense of place
and a sense of history, wonderfully told in
archival black-and-white photos. John Besh
makes you feel at home. As you experience his
cooking through New Orleans’s seasons,
My New Orleans will become your New Orleans.
4. For the stuffed quail, while the gumbo is cooking,
place the quail breast side down on a cutting board and
butterfly by cutting lengthwise through the backs of
the birds, keeping their breasts intact. Season with salt
and pepper.
5. To make the stuffing, heat the bacon fat in a large
saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the andouille,
stirring with a wooden spoon, and cook until it begins
to brown, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to
moderate and add the rice, onions, bell peppers, garlic,
and green onions. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of
the gumbo and the bread crumbs and stir to mix well.
6. Preheat the oven to 475°. Remove the pan from
the heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 30
minutes. Put a large spoonful of the stuffing on the
breast of each quail (see photo, right).
7. Wrap the skin of the quail around the stuffing and
secure with a toothpick. Turn the bird breast side up,
and crimp the legs together with a piece of aluminum
foil. Repeat with all the quail. Season with a little salt
and pepper, place the birds in a baking pan, and roast
until golden brown, 15–18 minutes. Remove the foil
and the toothpicks. Ladle the gumbo into individual
bowls and place a roasted stuffed quail in the middle
of each bowl.
Produced and edited by award-winning editor and writer
Dorothy Kalins, founding editor of Saveur magazine,
former executive editor of Newsweek, and director of
Dorothy Kalins Ink.
Gumbo—born on the bayou: Left, Momma Rochelle’s
stuffed quail gumbo; daybreak on the bayou behind
my house; hunting pals Randy Farris, Drew Mire,
Patrick Berrigan, Jack Besh, and their mallards. Below,
andouille-rice stuffing is spooned into butterflied quail.
Photographs by Ditte Isager, whose work appears in
Gourmet, Condé Nast Traveler, and Martha Stewart
Living.
$45.00 U.S.A. ($55.00 Canada)
9¼ x 11, 384 pp
Jacketed hardcover with lay-flat binding
ISBN-13: 978-0-7407-8413-2
ISBN-10: 0-7407-8413-7
Publication: October 6, 2009
For publicity information, contact:
Jennifer Baum: [email protected]
Kay Lindsay: [email protected]
212-255-6717
“John Besh is one of the best American chefs of his
generation. His extensive knowledge of true Louisiana dishes
and traditions adds tremendous credibility to his writing.”  
—Paul Prudhomme, chef and owner of  K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen Magic Seasoning Blends
“In his definitive tome, My New Orleans, John Besh
captures the true, sweet, and honest voice of a clarinet playing
the jazzy song of one of our most deliciously exclusive
regional American kitchens.” — Mario Batali, Iron Chef, restaurateur, author
“This book is an act of soul. Maestro Besh lives the life he cooks;
he doesn’t just tell us how to prepare Louisiana favorites, he teaches
us what these dishes mean, with an emphasis on how hospitality
can enrich civilization.” —Wynton Marsalis, musician
“John will take you into the heartland of the South, rich
with traditions, stories, and of course, its amazing cuisine!”
—Daniel Boulud, chef, restaurateur, and author

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