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Video: Take a trip to the Big Easy with po’boys

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    >>> back now at 8:51 with "today's" kitchen, what's for dinner? and this morning, out with a new cooking channel series. he travels to find the best food in america.

    >> i was just working on the flowers.

    >> all right.

    >> that's our garnish.

    >> so you're canadian, but you travel around to sample american food . did you learn a lot?

    >> i learned so much. and i think that's the beauty of this show is i pick a street in a city, not necessarily the street you would think, and, you know, eat my weight down the street, literally. from street food to high end to low end . anything that's interesting. you know, you get to learn a little bit more about your own backyard and that's the beauty of it. you don't have to go so far sometimes to discover something great, new, authentic and real.

    >> we're making something from new orleans today. the pull boy.

    >> i went to new orleans .

    >> can i point out? you've added some ink in honor of our cooking segment. you have a new cod tattoo.

    >> cod, there you go.

    >> ready to travel.

    >> there you go. so, you know, normally this is done with oysters in new orleans , but you can make it with pretty much anything. shrimp, whatever you have. he had really, really fresh cod, so why not? and that's the beauty of it. and that's the theme behind the show is, you know, i eat the street, but different cities in america will have their different versions of their sandwiches or snacks and what not. so this is kind of one of those things where you can, you know, have this in new orleans , but really anywhere in the u.s. you'll have a version of it.

    >> cod is good too because it'll hold together a little better for the sandwich?

    >> you can use any white fish , halibut, cod, snapper, whatever. for my batter, flour, salt, cayenne.

    >> yep.

    >> drop that in there.

    >> little beer.

    >> little beer. why not?

    >> what does it add besides flavor?

    >> it obviously adds flavor, but it givens you that leavenning effect. is that good?

    >> yeah.

    >> once again, you know, it's all about consistency. and you want to -- you want to cook with your eyes, as well. if it looks like it's too thick, then you've got to fix it up. you add a little bit more beer, more water.

    >> you want to get all the lumps out?

    >> yeah, but you don't want to stir it too much because you don't want to -- you want to keep those bubbles from the beer. so batter is good to go.

    >> put this guy in there.

    >> fish, season, salt and pepper .

    >> i'll do that.

    >> yeah?

    >> yeah.

    >> all right. get that in there. you can either serve this on baguette or a nice roll or a bun depending where you are.

    >> that's going to make it local if you use your own bread.

    >> can i throw it in there?

    >> yeah, throw it in there.

    >> in the oil.

    >> maybe not throw it right in there.

    >> yeah, careful.

    >> gently deposit it. beauty.

    >> nice.

    >> now with the bread.

    >> so there's trael no secret here, bread, butter, hey.

    >> pretty much a match made in heaven. you can go with baguette, any kind of local bun that you have that's fresh, that's good.

    >> hi, how are you?

    >> everybody's here.

    >> how long does this stay in?

    >> that'll stay in for about 2, 2 1/2 minutes until it's cooked nice, crispy, golden brown .

    >> now we're going to make a tartar sauce . something different in here which is arugula.

    >> i'm a lost cause. the menu's all over here. mayonnaise, you don't have to put it all in, but i like it nice and chunky, you've got pickles diced up, capers, shallots and anchovy, and you know, i want it to be --

    >> chunky.

    >> very, very chunky. i might have went overboard here with the arugula.

    >> let's be honest, i have a little problem. but it's still, you know what? that's the beauty of cooking and this is how it works.

    >> ten seconds, tell us about the --

    >> well, if you live in new orleans , you've got to have pecans, baby. and this is my mom's famous maple syrup pecan pie that's delicious, runny, gooey.

    >> thank you so much. now your local news.

TODAY recipes
updated 10/3/2012 7:31:38 PM ET 2012-10-03T23:31:38

Recipe: Fried haddock or cod po' boy

  • For the po
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle medium bodied beer
  • Canola oil
  • 8 (3-ounce) fillets fresh haddock or cod
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 baguettes, cut into a 6 to 8-inch piece per portion and cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons or 2 nubs of butter
  • Tartar sauce, recipe follows
  • Iceberg lettuce, julienned, for garnish
  • For Chuck
  • 4 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise, recipe follows
  • 1 bunch arugula, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 large dill pickle, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 2 anchovies, minced
  • For the homemade mayonnaise:
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Dash kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To make the po' boys:
Put the flour, salt and cayenne in a bowl, and mix well. Add the beer and stir until just incorporated. Mix no more than is necessary to prevent dissipation of the bubbles.

Put at least 3 inches of canola oil in a deep fryer, and bring to 375 degrees F. (Or, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F.)

Cut the haddock fillets into 3-inch pieces. Season the fish with sea salt and black pepper.

When the oil is at temperature — (if you don't have a thermometer you can test it by dropping a bread crouton in. If it sizzles on hitting the oil, it's ready) — dip the haddock pieces in the batter, and let the excess drain by holding it up briefly above the bowl before placing into the pan. Lay the fish into the hot oil slowly to make sure the oil hits all the surface area. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes on one side and flip over for another 2 minutes. You are looking for a golden brown color and crisp exterior. When ready, lift the fillets out with tongs and lay on paper towels, to absorb the excess surface oil.

Open out the split baguette and place inside down in a large pan coated with a nub of butter, melted, on medium heat, for about a minute. This will pan grill the inside of the bread making it buttery and toasty.

To assemble: Spread tartar sauce on both sides of the bread, lay on two pieces of fish and add a final little crunch of some finely sliced iceberg lettuce.

Directions for the homemade mayonnaise:
Put the eggs and mustard in a food processor. While running the machine, slowly drizzle in the oil until it gets very thick. Add some water, and then continue with the oil. Shift back and forth between the oil and water. When all is added, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Directions for Chuck's Tartar Sauce:
Place 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise in a bowl and add all the ingredients. Mix together. Mixture should be green, chunky and not too runny.

Serving Size

Yield: 4 servings. Total time: 35 minutes. Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes. Level: Intermediate.

Recipe: Maple pecan pie

  • Pastry
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, coarsely chopped
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon ice water, plus more if needed
  • Filling
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup pecans
  • Serving suggestion: Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

To make the pastry:
In a food processor, combine the flour, butter and a pinch of salt, and pulse until the mixture resembles big breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon ice water in a bowl until combined. With food processor motor running, add the wet mixture to the flour mixture. Process until mixture begins to form large clumps, stopping the machine before the mixture forms a ball. If it needs a bit more water, add it. You want the dough to just barely hang together, and not be too wet.

Turn the pastry out onto a work surface, and knead very gently to bring the dough together. Form the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Two is even better.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a light dusting of flour on your board and rolling pin, roll out the dough to the desired thickness. Lay the dough into the pie plate, and prick with a fork all over, trim and decorate the edge of the pie as you wish.

To make the filling:
In a large bowl, combine the maple syrup, egg, sugar and cream, and stir well to mix. Transfer the filling mixture to the pastry-lined pie dish. Top with the pecan nuts, and bake for about 35 minutes, or until set. Let cool before serving.

Serve the pie with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Serving Size

Yield: 8 servings. Total time: 3 hours 55 minutes. Prep time: 20 minutes. Inactive prep time: 3 hours. Cook time: 35 minutes. Level: Easy.

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