Cookbook review – the new orleans cookbook

I don’t think there has been a year without at least one new cookbook under the tree and this year was no exception.  The book that I gave to Keith this year is the new orleans kitchen by Justin Devillier with Jamie Feldmar.  A few of the soup recipes from the book (a caramelized onion soup with smoked bacon and blue cheese and a lobster chowder) were featured in the Wall Street Journal and they sounded delicious.

Not only is this a beautiful cookbook, there are a lot of recipes that sound amazing and in fact, we have already made two recipes from it in a week!  (That may be a record.)  The first thing we tried was a shrimp and grits recipe.  We didn’t actually make the grits part because we had leftover polenta from our Christmas Eve dinner.  Grits and polenta are similar so we figured the shrimp would go well and we were right.  The shrimp recipe includes cremini mushrooms and a wonderful sauce with shallots, garlic, white wine and Worcestershire sauce.  A definite do-over.

Another tradition is that we usually make our New Year’s Eve dinner from the new cookbook.  There were a couple of options but the one we selected was crawfish etouffee.  At first we weren’t sure that we could get the crawfish (the author suggests ordering it online but the shipping was going to cost more than the crawfish.)  A call to our friends at Conrad’s established that they carry frozen crawfish meat so that made the decision easy.  And since we were going to Conrad’s anyway, we got a wonderful mix of raw oysters as our first course.  Our friends joined us and Christie supplied a fantastic salad with grilled goat cheese.

Keith did the heavy lifting on the cooking and I did the prep.  Like many New Orleans dishes, the etouffee starts with a roux.  Keith makes an excellent seafood gumbo that starts with a roux but he particularly appreciated the pictures in the new cookbook because they clearly demonstrate the different colors of roux.  Working from a description of the color is much harder than comparing to the pictures.  This recipe also calls for combining some of the seafood stock into the roux to smooth the sauce and then stirring that back into the rest of the etouffee.  The result was truly velvety.  This is a definite do-over and I’m excited that there are leftovers in the freezer.


As for the next experiment from the book, there are so many possibilities – the pan roasted mushrooms, the seared scallops with garlicky brown butter pan sauce or one of the soups all sound delicious.  I’m very happy with the book and confident that it will get lots of use!  Highly recommended!