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Celebrating ‘Fat Tuesday’

From crawfish to Po Boys and King Cakes, New Orleans is justifiably famous for its delicious dishes. Tory McPhail, the executive chef at the famous New Orleans restaurant Commander’s Palace, has the recipes to bring New Orlean’s to your kitchen.DARK ROUX OR light roux? Filé gumbo or okra gumbo? Flour or corn fried oysters? The questions that keep “foodies up at night. There is no wrong answ
/ Source: msnbc.com

From crawfish to Po Boys and King Cakes, New Orleans is justifiably famous for its delicious dishes. Tory McPhail, the executive chef at the famous New Orleans restaurant Commander’s Palace, has the recipes to bring New Orlean’s to your kitchen.

DARK ROUX OR light roux? Filé gumbo or okra gumbo? Flour or corn fried oysters? The questions that keep “foodies up at night. There is no wrong answer, but the differences are not nearly as subtle as they may appear. For example, fried oysters eaten with cocktail sauce have a strong, unabashed flavor that calls out for an ice cold beer accompaniment. Delicately fried corn battered oysters on the other hand are to be eaten with a smooth tartar sauce or no accompaniment except a glass of California Chardonnay.

CORN FRIED OYSTERS WITH HORSERADISH CREAM AND SHOESTRING POTATOES Tory McPhail

Makes 8 appetizers or 4 entrees

In a small saucepot over high heat, bring vinegar and cream to a boil. Add horseradish and season. Simmer for 1 minute or until sauce is hot. Remove from heat.

Preheat oil to 325 to 350 in a 6-quart or larger pot.

Using a mandolin cut potatoes into 1/8” thick matchsticks, using the entire length of the potatoes. Use as much of the potato as possible. Rinse potatoes in cold water until water runs clear and mix with hands periodically.

Drain potatoes just before frying so they do not burn. Be sure to shake off all excess water. Be careful when you drop in the potatoes, the excess water will cause the oil to boil up violently. Fry in small batches for about 2 ½ to 4 minutes, depending on size of cut, or until golden brown. Stir to prevent potato shoestrings from sticking together and to cook evenly. After cooking, drain on cloth towel and season with salt immediately so that the seasoning sticks. Set aside in a warm area.

In a large bowl, mix flour, masa, cornmeal, and seafood seasoning until well blended.

Dredge each oyster in mixture using the natural oyster liqueur as an adhesive to coat oyster with mixture. Shake off excess coating. Repeat this until all oysters are evenly coated and ready to fry.

Fry oysters in small batches only. Be careful not to overcrowd in fryer and prevent drop in oil temperature. Cook oysters until edges curl and become crisp and brown. Pull oysters from oil and drain on cloth towel. Season immediately.

Serve immediately on a bed of horseradish sauce in bottom of pate. Arrange potatoes in center and oyster surrounding potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve oysters on halved French bread and dress with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and onions.

Always use clean oil, and never overcrowd the fryer. Test potatoes. Crispness depends on cut size, age, and starch content. Be careful not to cook out the pungent flavor of horseradish when cooking the sauce. Always taste the horseradish before using, the flavor can be very strong, but it never tastes the same. Cook oysters only until edges curl. Always serve fried oyster immediately.

912362860489604816049760492white vinegar» cup white vinegarheavy cream1cup1 cup heavy creamhorseradish1cup1 cup prepared horseradishSalt and pepper Salt and pepper to tastevegetable oil2quart2 quarts vegetable oil, for fryingpotatoes44 medium russet potatoes, peeledflour1cup1 cup flourmasa flour1cup1 cup masa flourcorn meal1cup1 cup corn mealseafood seasoning 0.5cup1/2 cup seafood seasoning or to tasteoysters4040 raw oysters, shucked, in their own liquid

A crawfish boil is a New Orleans version of a picnic or a clambake. We certainly serve boiled crawfish at Commander’s but to do it right you should certainly be in your back yard, on a lake, in a city park, etc. The traditional way is to lay our newspaper on a picnic table or on the grass and to dump the mounds of steaming crawfish, corn, and new potatoes onto the newspaper in a big heap. Then everyone gathers around and peels and eats the crawfish together. Yes we do suck the heads and pinch the tails. The best flavor is in the fat in the head and sucking it out is the most efficient method. Then peeling the tails can be speeded up by a method of “pinching” the very end of the tail and crawfish pops out. Being a good “crawfish boiler” in New Orleans- i.e. someone with a knack for just the right seasoning mixture- makes you a very sought after friend. When people in your neighborhood smell a crawfish boil from your yard, its’ amazing how may neighbors take that moment to return a borrowed item or just happen to walk by. Nothing goes better with boiled seafood than a good beer. Try a fresh local amber beer such as Abita in the New Orleans area.

This same procedure can be used for crabs or shrimp. You also can have a lot of fun personalizing your boil by adding sausage, mushrooms, artichokes, etc.