In fall, Louisiana roads lead to homes where family and friends gather in kitchens filled with aromas of caramelized onions, smoked meats and hints of rosemary and thyme. Holiday occasions often are filled with shared memories and shared recipes.
Dr. David Gerard “Jerry” Fourrier and his wife, Nancy, entertain guests with distinctive south Louisiana meals. Many dishes they’ve created themselves; others come from familiar recipes shared through the years. Their culinary interests have been passed on to their daughters, Michelle, a registered nurse in Denver, and Torrey, a second-year medical student at LSU in Shreveport. Both help out with cooking when visiting home in Baton Rouge.
A Baton Rouge native, Fourrier attended Sacred Heart grade school, Catholic High, LSU and LSU School of Medicine. Now retired from his ear, nose and throat practice, he works part-time at medical clinics and making house calls. This gives him time for his passions: fishing, hunting and cooking.
“I learned to love to cook from my mother, sweet Lorraine Fourrier, who taught me how to cook oyster stew and eggplant casserole,” he said.
Nancy, who grew up in New Iberia, attended University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She works as a nurse with Health Lives and Community Advocacy at Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center. She finds time to cook with her husband and often serves dishes she learned from her mother growing up in Acadiana.
It’s not unusual to find a longtime college friend, like Jim Robinson, dropping by the Fourrier home for a casual meal. Fourrier also stays connected to friends from his first-grade class, including Louis and Becky DeJohn, Sandra and Richard Ribes, Bernadette Denny, Roy Berteau, Suzette D’Amico, Eddie Louis, Steve Polozola and Richard and Randy Ellis.
“I still go fishing regularly with Rob Forester, one of my grammar school friends,” Fourrier said. “He’s one of the best saltwater fly fishing men I’ve ever seen.”
Succulent Barbecued Prime Rib is Dr. Fourrier’s piece de resistance. After seasoning the meat with TexJoy (a blend of salt, pepper, herbs and spices), he cooks the meat on a Cajun Grill made by Percy Guidry, of Lafayette. The result is a succulent roast with a crusty exterior that reveals juicy, tender meat when sliced.
Another favorite is Fourrier’s smoked salmon, a delicious fish brined with salt, brown sugar and dill. It’s served as an appetizer on cracker rounds with cream cheese, chopped red onions, capers and chopped hard-boiled egg. On certain occasions, the Fourriers prepare roast duck obtained on hunting trips with cousin Steve Fourrier to the Tropical Gardens Hunting Club in Pecan Island. The teal are injected with garlic butter sauce and stuffed with rosemary and blueberries handpicked by the Fourriers. The roast duck is a true gourmet dish.
He also enjoys hunting wild pigs with cousins Carter, Jon, Brad and Beau Fourrier in St. Francisville and exotics with cousins Kay, Tom and Page Day of Acorn Outfitters in Del Rio, Texas. His wild pig recipe is a work in progress.
Fourrier said his father, Don Fourrier, and J. Clifton Hill Sr. had been best friends since grade school at St. Vincent’s Academy. Hill’s wife, Olga, learned cooking from her mother, Celeste Maestri, who was well-known for her family dishes.
“She taught me how to cook her spinach dressing recipe,” Fourrier said.
He’s proud to own a copy of the Maestri family cookbook. The dressing, perfect for the holidays, is an authentic Louisiana dish the doctor considers “the nectar of the gods.”
Reflecting her Cajun heritage, Nancy Fourrier has created a steamed shrimp recipe that calls for south Louisiana’s holy trinity — celery, green and yellow peppers and onions. Seasonings are finished with Tabasco. Another family favorite is Nancy’s angel-hair pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil and topped with fresh Parmesan cheese.