Modern Takes On Classic New Orleans Seafood Dishes

by Amelia Levin
Corn and shrimp bisque at Toups South

Corn and shrimp bisque at Toups South, courtesy of Toups South

CARROLLTON MARKET

Chef/owner Jason Goodenough is famous for his Oysters Goodenough. For the dish, he flash-fries oysters that come from where the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain meet and serves them atop a bed of creamed leeks cooked with Benton’s bacon and a light drizzling of bearnaise sauce. He’s also known for his housemade Creole Cream Cheese Cavatelli, which he makes by substituting equal parts creole cream cheese (a local product) with ricotta for an extra tang to balance out the richness of the butter-browned cauliflower, locally sourced crabmeat and dusting of Grana Padano cheese.

COMPÈRE LAPIN

At Compère Lapin, Nina Compton cooks up a Caribbean-inspired seafood pepper pot made with lobster stock, habanero peppers, coconut milk, escabeche vegetables and fish (Gulf grouper) with a butternut squash garnish. Also on the menu are her famous conch croquettes with a pickled pineapple tartar sauce.

Oysters Goodenough at Carrollton Market

Oysters Goodenough at Carrollton Market

DTB

Chef/owner Carl Schaubhut, known for its reinterpreted coastal Cajun cuisine, makes his gumbo with Louisiana blue crab, collard greens and a crab-fat potato salad. He also uses the same crab for his crab-boiled chips with popcorn creme fraiche and pickled lemon.

PÊCHE SEAFOOD GRILL

At Donald Link’s Pêche, Ryan Prewitt serves a Gulf-caught black drum seared in a cast-iron skillet and baked in a broth made from roasted mushrooms and mushroom powder. The dish is finished with fried sweet potato calas (savory doughnuts), along with a spoonful of pickled banana peppers. For a take on a classic Louisiana catfish courtbouillon, Prewitt breads and pan-fries the catfish and simmers it in a slightly spicy tomato/roux-based sauce. For the Louisiana shrimp roll, local shrimp caught that day are poached, peeled and mixed with mayonnaise, grain mustard, hot sauce and green onions, and stuffed into house-baked rolls SAC-A-LAIT Husband and wife team Cody and Samantha Carroll, stars of the Food Network’s “Cajun Aces,” focus on modern takes on Acadian and Cajun cuisines at Sac-a-Lait. An example is their rendition of crawfish tourtiere—a traditional Acadian crawfish and mirliton (New Orleans squash) pie with Tabasco honey.

TOUPS’ MEATERY/TOUPS SOUTH

At Toups’ Meatery and Toups South, executive chef/owner Isaac Toups and wife/co-owner Amanda Toups center on the Cajun rustic cookery Isaac Toups grew up with—dishes such as Gulf Seafood Couvillion with Louisiana Gulf fish, shrimp and crab-fat rice. On the menu at Toups South is Louisiana Gulf Stew made with crab, shrimp, oysters, and a crawfish/tasso gratin with cauliflower, cornbread crumb and Parmesan.

Read more about how New Orleans chefs are sourcing locally for their seafood menus in the July/August 2018 issue of The National Culinary Review. (Not a subscriber? Click here.)

Get Funky: A Guide to Fermentation

From chocolate to cheese, salami, wine, pickles and bread, many of the world’s greatest delicacies are the products of fermentation. However, it wasn’t so long ago in our antibacterial-obsessed culture that cheesemakers and chocolatiers downplayed the role of bacteria in their processes.

mixed small ferments

Mixed small ferments, Kirsten Shockey

“We grew up with germ theory, antibacterial soap and the mantra, ‘Don’t leave it out; it will kill you!’ — those messages are deep in our psyche,” says Kirsten Shockey, co-author with (her husband Christopher Shockey) of Fiery Ferments (Storey Publishing, 2017) and Fermented Vegetables (Storey Publishing, 2014). That view is changing though, as our culture increasingly embraces live cultures for their health benefits and the exciting flavors they impart.

Sauerkraut, fermented ramps and ruby sauerkraut at Vie in Western Springs, Illinois.

Sauerkraut, fermented ramps and ruby sauerkraut at Vie in Western Springs, Illinois.

Fermentation is defined as the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts or other microorganisms, usually involving effervescence and the emission of heat. For some 9,000 years, humans have manipulated this process to encourage certain strains of bacteria or fungi to grow in vegetables, grains and dairy products to preserve them and add flavor.

Types of Fermentation

The most common form of fermentation is lactic acid fermentation, which is used for making kimchi, yogurt and certain kinds of pickles. Other common types include acetic fermentation (vinegar production) and alcoholic fermentation (occurring in distillation).

Making habanero mash, Kirsten Shockey

Making habanero mash, Kirsten Shockey

“All of the food we eat is populated by various communities of microorganisms, so there isn’t just one in play,” says Sandor Katz, author of the James Beard award-winning book The Art of Fermentation, and a self-avowed fermentation revivalist. “Fermentation is simply a manipulation of scientific conditions to encourage the growth of some organisms and discourage the growth of others.”

Lactic fermentation occurs in both sauerkraut and charcuterie, for example, when bacterial enzymes transform protein into amino acids. Moisture is essential to inhibiting bad bacteria in the former but detrimental to the latter. In that case, trapped moisture can lead to spoilage.

Vegetable fermentation is a great gateway to other kinds of fermentation because it’s simple to make and, frankly, hard to screw up. “You don’t even need a starter — just vegetables, salt, a vessel and time,” Shockey says.

Sliced, shredded or mashed produce is submerged completely in salted liquid — by either suspending it in a salt brine or massaging it with salt to release its juices — to create an anaerobic environment that locks out oxygen’s entry.

Learn how to ferment — and do it safely — in the spring issue of Sizzle, the ACF’s free digital publication for culinary students.

Recipe: White Chocolate Bonbons With Aged Gruyere Ganache

Cheese takes center stage in so many beloved dishes, it’s easy to forget the subtle, playful, balancing qualities it can provide — whether injecting umami into the background of a dish, or toying with our expectations about classic compositions, from soufflés to cacio e pepe to quesadillas.

Aged Gruyere balances the sweet flavor of white chocolate and mango in the recipe below, which originally appeared in the May/June issue of The National Culinary Review.

Read more about the many qualities cheese can bring to a menu.

Recipe: White Chocolate Bonbons With Aged Gruyere Ganache

White Chocolate Bonbons With Aged Gruyere Ganache

by Jérôme Landrieu, Chef, Cacao Barry, Chicago

Yield: about 50 bonbons

Toasted coconut base
26.5 g passion fruit puree
34.5 g granulated sugar
130 g desiccated coconut

METHOD: Simmer puree and sugar. Add desiccated coconut. Toast in oven at 248ºF for 20 minutes, mixing every 5 minutes. Reserve.

Almond coconut praline base
15.9 g water
55.8 g granulated sugar
16.7 g powdered glucose
19.1 g toasted coconut flakes
87.7 g toasted almonds
0.7 g vanilla bean
4 g milk powder 0%

METHOD: Make a brun caramel with water, sugar and glucose. Pour over coconut, almonds and vanilla bean. Grind with milk powder until praline texture. Set aside.

Coconut/Almond Crunchy
60 g Cacao Barry Zephyr 34% white chocolate
240 g Cacao Barry deodorized cocoa butter
100 g almond coconut praline base
1 g Cacao Barry pailleté feuilletine
1 g toasted coconut base

METHOD: Melt chocolate and cocoa butter. Add praline base. Crystallize. Add feuilletine and coconut base. Cast in 2-mm frame; let set. Cut 25-mm disks.

Mango Confit
65.3 g premium dried apricots
130.5 g mango puree
32.6 g passion fruit puree
9.8 g granulated sugar
9.8 g sorbitol powder
2 g pectin NH

METHOD: Dice apricots. Add mango and passion fruit purees. Let soak overnight. Following day, blend mix; add dry ingredients. Simmer mixture. Chill. Cast in half-sphere silicone molds with 19-mm cavity. Freeze.

Aged Swiss Gruyere Cheese Ganache
166 g cream 36%
15 g powdered sorbitol
65 g aged Gruyere cheese
185 g Cacao Barry Zephyr 34% white chocolate
12 g butter
5 g Cacao Barry deodorized cocoa butter

METHOD: Combine cream, sorbitol and Gruyere. Heat mixture to 70ºC; pour over chocolate and butters. Make an emulsion. Chill to 28ºC. Cast.

Decor
Cacao Barry Zephyr 34% white chocolate, tempered
Yellow and white colored cocoa butter, tempered

To assemble:
1. Spray molds with colored cocoa butter according to photo or design of choice. Let set.
2. Make chocolate shells with Zephyr 34% white chocolate.
3. Pipe 2 g ganache in each cavity. Place half sphere of mango confit; top with another 1 g ganache.
4. Place disk of crunchy on top.
5. When ganache is set, seal with more Zephyr 34% white chocolate.

How sous vide cooking is changing the game for some chefs

Sous vide egg bites; Photo courtesy of Starbucks

By Karen Weisberg

For Bruno Goussault, widely recognized as the founder of modern sous vide, 2017 was a good year. In February, Starbucks put its Sous Vide Egg Bites on the menu, highlighting the means of preparation on menu boards, an indicator that the terminology had gone mainstream. Then, in September, Goussault was named one of the world’s 100 greatest thinkers, artists, scientists, business leaders and visionaries when he was nominated to Genius: 100 Visions of the Future, a celebration of Albert Einstein’s accomplishments inspiring the next generation.

With a master’s in food technology and a doctorate in economics, Goussault has focused on food technology in pioneering the development of the sous vide cooking methodology since 1974. In 1991 in Paris, he founded Culinary Research & Education Academy to train chefs around the world in this precise time/temperature cooking technique.

More than two decades ago, Goussault founded and is chief scientist of Cuisine Solutions, with U.S. headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. He has helped design six sous vide manufacturing facilities in the U.S., France, Chile, Brazil and Norway, and also oversees the processes, methods and parameters of production.

In 1971, Goussault developed sous vide as a way to improve the tenderness of roast beef. “I discovered that if the beef was vacuum-sealed in a specially designed pouch and slowly cooked at a slightly lower than usual temperature, it showed little sign of profit-robbing shrinkage compared to conventional cooking methods,” he says. “Plus, the flavor was notably enhanced.”

Today, more than four decades later, Goussault is newly excited about cryoconcentration—reducing by freezing—that is said by some aficionados to be a new frontier in food science with the potential to open up a whole new world of flavors.

Reducing by freezing reportedly eliminates changes in flavor and consistency caused by reducing heat. Goussault says cryoconcentration is, in fact, an old technique that he was using in 1970 to reduce liquid when freeze-drying orange juice and coffee. “But what is new is extraction—using the sous vide method with specific technology to extract flavor from the trimmings of vegetables and fruit,” he says. “There’s more flavor in the trimmings that are typically discarded.

As the first woman in the U.S. to win two Michelin stars, chef Dominique Crenn has been hard at work honing her craft since her arrival in San Francisco from Paris in 1988. Indeed, her training has mostly been on the job, because she earned her baccalaureate in France with a focus on politics and business. She opened Atelier Crenn in 2011, and, more recently, Petit Crenn, a bistro, both in San Francisco.

From descriptions of Crenn’s cooking—light, adventurous, with unexpected bursts of flavor—it sounds as though sous vide might play a role in her kitchen. In fact, she says, it did at one time.

“I could use sous vide to make egg jam—I put eggs in the circulator to get the texture I wanted. If I did anything hollandaise, I’d use sous vide to kind of stabilize the content of the eggs for the right texture and consistency.”

A dedicated proponent of the slow food movement, Justin Carlisle—who grew up on a small beef farm in rural Wisconsin—opened Ardent in Milwaukee in 2013. It was named the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Best New Restaurant.

In 23-seat Ardent, Carlisle offers a 10-course menu plus seven snacks. He figures he serves about 36 guests each evening in the 900-square-foot space. With nine employees in tight quarters, he says, “The thermo circulators are the line cooks, cooking proteins and vegetables to the precise temperature we want them done.

Over the years, Carlisle’s recipe for fermented pork with greens and cherry miso has become iconic. But, he warns, if you cure protein ahead, be aware that the pressure will still be curing it. “You must wash it thoroughly and be careful of long-term cook times, because that would produce a hammy texture and flavor.”

Carlisle’s tip for sous vide neophytes is to read, learn and know temperatures, time and textures.

And, as Goussault says, “Respect the technology. You need to have fresh product to start, always decrease the temperature before you vacuum-pack the product and be sure to follow regulatory guidelines.”

0418 April NCR_cover

Read more about how sous vide cooking is changing how chefs cook in the April 2017 issue of the National Culinary Review.

New York-based, award-winning journalist Karen Weisberg has covered the issues and luminaries of the food-and-beverage world — both commercial and noncommercial — for more than 25 years.

Recipe: Nitro Cricket Ice Cream

CSF_KyleKlein_ACF_Charlotte_KyleKlein_KKP11693

Kristopher Edelen, also known as Chef KPE, launched HOTPANnyc, a pop-up catering company in New York City dedicated to native, post-modern cuisine, in February 2014. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who’s been featured on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen,” Chef Edelen’s culinary goals center on helping our world rebuild itself using methods from our prehistoric diets, including foraging, sustainable farming, fishing, hunting and even entomophagy — eating insects.

Chef KPE demonstrated his technique for nitro-aerated ice cream using crickets at the ACF’s ChefConnect in Charlotte, N.C. in February. The recipe is below, if you’re feeling adventurous…

Ice cream base (Cricket Anglaise):
5 ounces fine textured cricket protein (TIP)
2 quart raw Guernsey milk
1 quart raw heavy cream
200 grams cane sugar
2 vanilla beans
0.90 grams pure vanilla extract
0.50 grams iota carrageenan
1 gram kappa carrageenan
5 liter liquid nitrogen
sea salt, to taste

Procedure:
1. Split vanilla beans lengthwise, scrape beans and reserve for later.
2. Gently heat milk and heavy cream in a small sauce pot. Add sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla beans and sea salt. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
3. Crumble the fine cricket TIP and place in a blender. Add half the hot base and blend on high until the TIP is fully incorporated. Slowly add remaining hot cream mix and blend on high until all is fully blended and looks velvety.
4. Filter base through a fine sieve. Let base cool on a ice bath before transferring to an US Quart iSi Gourmet Whip (Siphon). Charge your Siphon with four N2O cream chargers and shake vigorously. Into a freezer-safe bowl (preferably metal), carefully pour your liquid nitrogen. Once the nitrogen is in the bowl, quickly release your charged Siphon with the base inside.
5. Begin to carefully break the frozen chunks into bite-size pieces while mixing. Hold the cricket ice-cream in the freezer or continue pouring nitrogen until ready to serve.

Cricket Crunch:
225 grams cane sugar
118 grams water
3 tablespoons pastured butter
4 ounces dehydrated crickets, chopped
100 grams golden syrup
5 liters liquid nitrogen
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
sea salt, to taste

Procedure: Cricket Crunch
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add butter, sugar and salt. Slowly caramelize the sugar until golden brown. Carefully add the water and golden syrup (the sugar will begin to pop). Clip on a candy thermometer and let it reach to 290 F. Be careful to not let the temperature get too high.
2. Once your sugar syrup is up to temperature, quickly add the crickets and baking soda. Pour your solution onto a silpat.
3. Once the solution is slightly cooled, pour liquid nitrogen on top. Crack the cricket crunch in the bowl, carefully pour the liquid nitrogen over the crunch and break up the frozen pieces. Set aside.

Assemble
Take both frozen nitro treats, mix together inside of a large metal bowl. Finish with more liquid nitrogen and give it a toss. It’s now ready to plate and serve!

Click here for a printer-friendly version. And check out our interview with Chef KPE in the spring issue of Sizzle.