Recipes: Go NOLA! The Art of Creole and Cajun Cuisine
Joey's Mama's Shrimp, Grits and Catfish Dish, from Chef Joey Mills, Roux on Orleans, New Orleans
Go NOLA: A Top Chef’s Recipe for Traditional Shrimp And Grits!
Joey Wells is the executive chef behind the Creole cuisine – with a hint of Cajun, too – at Roux on Orleans in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orlean’s French Quarter.
“My grandma taught me about Cajun comfort food,” he says, and also the not-so-old-fashioned notion that nothing should be wasted. “Take Oysters Rockefeller, for example,” he grins. “That all started with leftover creamed spinach!”
Joey’s Mama’s Shrimp, Grits and Catfish Dish
From Roux on Orleans, in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, New Orleans
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green bell peppers
2 cups chopped celery
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp blackening (recipe follows)
4 cups seafood stock
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish
In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter set over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Cook over medium heat until it is a little darker than the color of peanut butter, about 8 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery and garlic; cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cayenne and 1 tbsp of the blackening seasoning. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes; whisk in seafood stock. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season with remaining tablespoon of blackening seasoning.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large shrimp, size 16/20 or larger. 16/20 simply means there are 16–20 shrimp per pound.
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
An iconic cocktail: The Ramos Gin Fizz
Ms. Cheryl Charming, bar mistress of the Bourbon O Bar at the Bourbon Orleans hotel, recently brought back the Ramos Gin Fizz to her historic New Orleans cocktails menu. Henry Carl Ramos originated the cool and frothy drink that appealed to both men and women in 1887 at his Imperial Cabinet Saloon in downtown New Orleans.
For 33 years, the recipe remained secret until, according to history, “on the verge of prohibition, Ramos published his recipe in a New Orleans paper, thinking it would never be served again after Prohibition began.”
Up until that time, say the proprietors of New Orleans Hotel Collection, of which the Bourbon Orleans hotel is a member, Henry Ramos, whose friends knew him as Carl employed a line of “shaker boys” who would shake the special drink for two minutes each, then pass it along the line until it was shaken for a minimum of six minutes and as many as 12. Over 33 years, it’s said Carl served up as many as 5,000 of the frothy drinks each week.
“Now, 96 years later, the Bourbon O Bar has brought the return of the fully shaken drink that Ramos perfected by importing a specialty gin fizz shaker. The double-barrelled shaking machine replaces the line of shaker boys and whips up a frothy mix that holds to the six- to 12-minute shakes that were Henry Ramos’ trademark.
In case you’ve managed your line of shaker boys, here’s how Ms. Charming mixes it up at the Bourbon O.
Tools: shaker, strainer