Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
by Ralph Brennan and Gene Bourg
Quick note from Chef James:
If you love seafood and/or New Orleans cooking, you must buy this book. (The Crabmeat Lasagna with Crab-&-Chanterelle Butter Sauce is excellent!)
Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook is the definitive guide to New Orleans seafood cooking, including a comprehensive seafood cook's manual, 170 recipes featuring classic and contemporary seafood preparations, 143 color photographs, and a comprehensive ingredients source guide.
Created by the perfect storm of culinary talent - restaurateur Ralph Brennan, prolific food writer Gene Bourg and storied photographer Kerri McCaffety - Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook demystifies seafood cooking with detailed, triple-tested recipes that really work. Whether you're a novice or an expert, you'll find recipes to delight you, from the short and simple (Barbecue Shrimp, Grilled Redfish "on the Half-Shell", Crawfish Spring Rolls with Roasted Corn Relish & Chile-Garlic Sauce), to the delectably complex (Crawfish Bisque, Crabmeat Lasagna with Crab-&-Chanterelle Butter Sauce).
Illustrated step-by-step instructions for handling, storing and preparing raw seafood products, a guide to pairing seafood with wine, and a bonus section with substitutions, tips and special instructions to ensure recipes come out right and delicious, every time--it's all here in one luscious volume.
Four years in the making, the majesty of New Orleans seafood cooking is now accessible and available to every home cook, thanks to Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook.
I can often tell how good a cookbook is by seeing how many small bookmarks my wife places among the recipes. Between bits of newspaper coupons and paper napkins, or whatever else was at hand, the top of my review copy of Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook has become a veritable forest. The recipes actually come from Brennan's restaurants. Given the extended family into which he was born - New Orleans restaurant royalty, with members owning a number of major names in that city's eating establishments - there is little surprise that he went into the business.
The beginning of the book has a "manual" for how to select, store, and handle various types of fish and seafood. I would have liked to see a bit more - for example, not just filleting a whole fish, but also gutting and cleaning it. However, even in the section on fin fish, there was a tip I had never heard for telling if a fish is done. Insert the tip of a knife into the thickest part of a fillet. Then put the tip against the inside of your wrist. If it feels hot, then it's done. And there's plenty of other useful information, like an explanation of the difference among different types of crab meat and crabs.
The recipes look fabulous: crab cakes with ravigote sauce, chilled smoked scallops with tomato-and-onion marmalade (making your own stove top smoker is in a tips appendix), oyster and artichoke bisque, baked catfish with sweet potato scales and andouille sauce, shrimp and spinach cannelloni with champagne butter sauce. This is upscale fish cookery.
(Erik Sherman, Amazon.com)