When four of New Orleans’ best chefs share cooking tips, you can bet we’re all ears.
As Cody Carroll, of Sac-A-Lait; Austin Breckinridge, of La Petite Grocery; Tenney Flynn, of GW Fins; and Gus Martin, of Dickie Brennan & Co. stirred up their recipes for The Taste of the South, they also dished on what home chefs can do to make their food taste just as good — well, almost.
Hosted by the Baton Rouge chapter of the Louisiana Restaurant Association in late October at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel, the evening benefitted the chapter’s ProStart program, a nationwide, two-year program for high school students interested in the restaurant and food service industry.
Flynn was up first, cooking the evening’s appetizer — GW Fins’ barbecue shrimp, a dish he said is “easy” to do at home.
Flynn advised preparing the shallots and garlic first. And, he added, if you can’t put your hands on Paul Prudhomme’s Shrimp Magic, your favorite Creole seasoning will work just fine. He also recommended serving the shrimp over grits with goat cheese.
“Use long-cooking grits, not the quick-cooking kind,” he added.
Carroll, who also co-owns the popular New Roads restaurant Hot Tails with wife Samantha, swears by P&J Oysters. They’re the ones he uses when preparing his smoked oyster and white sweet potato bisque with cane sugar-cured pork jowl and aged goat cheddar.
Can’t find pork jowl? Carroll says you can use hickory-smoked bacon instead.
Martin prepared the night’s main course — filet mignon with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and asparagus.
His tip? Season the meat with kosher salt and pepper for grilling the perfect steak.
“Kosher salt gives an extra layer of texture,” Martin explained.
Before throwing the steak on the grill, let it come to room temperature and don’t forget to let it “rest” three to five minutes before serving.
Breckenridge prepared his chocolate marquise with sea salt brittles to wrap up the meal.
His tip was to assemble the necessary ingredients before starting.
When melting the chocolate, he turned off the heat once the water came to a boil and let the steam melt the butter and chocolate.
To keep the dessert fluffy, Breckenridge said to move the bowl while folding the egg mixture into the chocolate.
“It prevents the eggs from deflating,” added Breckenridge.