TOM FITZMORRIS’S NEW ORLEANS FOOD (Revised and Expanded Edition): More Than 250 of the City’s Best Recipes to Cook at Home
February 20, 2018
February 20, 2018
Tom Fitzmorris is a New Orleans–based food critic, radio host, and author.
Tom Fitzmorris is uniquely qualified to write about the food of New Orleans. Born in the Crescent City on Mardi Gras, he has been eating, celebrating, and writing about the city’s cuisine for more than 30 years.
Now Fitzmorris is refreshing his bestselling cookbook NEW ORLEANS FOOD. The book features all of the favorite recipes, steeped in the town’s Creole and Cajun traditions, but is updated to include a 16-page color insert with gorgeous food photography and an updated introduction. From small plates (Shrimp Rémoulade with Two Sauces) to main courses (Redfish Herbsaint, Creole Lamb Shanks) to desserts and drinks (Bananas Foster, Beignets, and Café au Lait), these dishes are elegant and casual, traditional, and evolved.
The best time to make this dish is April and early May, when both crawfish and asparagus are excellent and inexpensive. The flavor blend, enriched by the hollandaise, is remarkable.
The best way to cook the asparagus is in a steamer, but it can also be done in a large skillet. If you’re using a skillet, bring 1/2 inch of water to a slow boil and drop in the asparagus. Let the asparagus cook about 2 minutes, until crisp-tender, then remove, being careful not to break them. Run cold water over the asparagus to stop the cooking, then drain.
Preheat the broiler. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer, all parallel to one another, on a broiler pan. Sprinkle the crawfish and the Parmesan across the centers of the asparagus spears. Pour the hollandaise over the centers of the spears, leaving the tips clean.
Broil the asparagus until the hollandaise begins to turn light brown on top, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven. Use a long metal spatula to transfer 6–10 spears at a time to a serving dish, making sure the topping stays intact. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne.
Bread pudding is generally thought of as a poor person’s dessert. But the rich New Orleans version is a thing apart, served in even the most expensive restaurants in town. This is an adaptation of my mother’s bread pudding. She topped hers with meringue. I surround mine with it, like a baked Alaska. I also like making individual puddings in muffin tins. I unmold them onto baking dishes before adding the meringue and toasting it until browned.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Beat 4 tablespoons of the butter and the sugar together until well creamed. Add the half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon, and egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue), and mix until the custard is well combined. Add just enough bread so that the mixture remains very juicy. Stir in the raisins.
Grease 12 pockets in a muffin tin with the remaining butter. Spoon the pudding mixture into the greased pockets, filling each just barely to the top. Set the muffin tin in a baking pan and add enough warm water to come halfway up the sides of the tin. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and cool.
In a clean, grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until peaks begin to form. Slowly add the sugar, then the vanilla, until well blended.
After the bread pudding has cooled for 15 minutes, raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Carefully lift each pudding out of the tin and place one on each of 12 individual baking dishes. Using a rubber spatula, cover the puddings with a thick layer of meringue. Little swirls and peaks are desirable. Bake until the meringue is
browned, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:
Recipes from TOM FITZMORRIS’S NEW ORLEANS FOOD (Revised and Expanded Edition): More Than 250 of the City’s Best Recipes to Cook at Home by Tom Fitzmorris. (Abrams; February 20, 2018; $26.99/Paperback, ISBN: 978-1419729812).
Contact: Alexandra Calamela