Eggplant Dryades

Named for the intersecting street where the restaurant is located on Napoleon Avenue, Eggplant Dryades is a sensational vodka cream tomato sauce with shrimp, spooned over eggplant.

Makes 4 servings.

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

6 ounces vodka

1 cup heavy cream

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

½ cup marinara sauce

8 to 10 basil leaves, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

1½ cups milk

12 ¼-inch thick peeled eggplant rounds

2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes until pink and firm. Remove from pan. Add vodka to deglaze the pan. Add cream, garlic and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce by half.

Add marinara sauce and half the basil. Bring to a simmer and stir in butter. Add remaining basil and return shrimp to skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a flat dish, whisk egg and milk to make an egg wash. Dip each eggplant round into egg wash, then coat well with breadcrumbs. Fry in hot vegetable oil until browned on both sides.

To serve, spoon sauce and shrimp over 3 rounds of eggplant per serving.

Oysters and Spaghetti

Although it’s not on the menu, Oysters and Spaghetti is one of those dishes the kitchen can provide when asked.

Makes 4 servings.

4 tablespoons butter

6 green onions, minced

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup oyster water

¼ teaspoon hot sauce

½ teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon salt

2 dozen shucked oysters

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1 pound hot cooked spaghetti

Heat butter in large skillet or saucepan. Add green onions. Cook 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in flour. Cook about 5 minutes. Add oyster water, hot sauce, Worcestershire, white pepper and salt. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add oysters and simmer 5 minutes. Add parsley. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.

Italian Cream Cake

The recipe for Italian cream cake was long gone, Poppy Tooker said, but she got it through the roundabout way New Orleans works. Leidenheimer Baking Co. owner Sandy Whann provided the copy his mother got from the restaurant years ago, when his family went to Pascal’s Manale on his birthday every year for his favorite cake. Tooker notes that pecans are a Louisiana addition to the classic recipe.

Makes 8-10 servings.

2 cups sugar

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup vegetable oil

5 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups flour, sifted

1 small can (3½ ounces) Baker’s Angel-Flake Coconut, Sweetened (about 1¼ cups)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and oil lightly until creamy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Add baking soda, buttermilk, flour, coconut, pecans and vanilla. Beat just until mixture is well blended.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter. Pour into prepared pans and bake 25 minutes, until baked through. Cool completely.


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound powdered sugar

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Beat cream cheese and butter together. Add vanilla. Gradually mix in powdered sugar. Spread between cake layers. Fully ice the outside of cake, then sprinkle it with pecans.