When I was cooking in New Orleans – at Commander’s Palace the year it won a James Beard restaurant award, and later at the Ritz-Carlton – I learned a few things about cooking seafood: How to make a perfect crab cake. What goes in a really good gumbo. How to play up the flavor of any fish with just the right sauce.
Now that I have moved on to the grocery side of things, managing the seafood department at FRESH, I realize I miss cooking the New Orleans way.
So, let me make you dinner at our new weekly event: New Orleans Seafood Mondays. Every Monday night, including tonight, I’m in the FRESH Taste Kitchen, cooking up seafood to order, while you shop, or, if you want, while you watch.
Dinner varies every week, depending on what’s the best fresh catch in the market and what I feel like cooking that night.
To give you an example, my first week, I provided a choice of tuna, mahi mahi, or coho salmon, either grilled, pan-fried, blackened or sautéed. We served that with a crawfish sausage medallion, a rich beurre blanc sauce, Jacksonville purple-hull peas and a couple of delicious crostini, made from Chef Aaron’s famous bread.
Every dinner I make, I get to draw on all that knowledge I developed in those great New Orleans kitchens. For instance, you know why your fish always looks so perfect at Commander’s Palace? Because we were taught to flip each piece only once while pan-frying it – so that each piece was perfectly golden and evenly cooked. Anything with even a speck of discoloration was not good enough for the guests.
That perfectionism has worked its way into my cooking style – and I’m eager to help you experience a dinner worthy of a five-star New Orleans restaurant, right in your grocery store. Come see me from 5-7 pm every Monday in the FRESH Taste Kitchen.