The Louisiana Seafood Survival Kit
When it comes to cooking Louisiana seafood, it helps to have a few tools and tricks to make a delicious meal even better. Some of our favorite Louisiana chefs weighed in on the issue and offered their suggestions.
By LouisianaSeafood.com Staff
Executive Chef, Napoleon House, New Orleans
“I'm all about cast iron and those integral ingredients, like a good Creole seasoning. You can make your own; don't be intimidated by it. I'm a big fan of Tony Chachere's. It's kind of herbal and light.
“What else? A good fish spatula. You've got a regular spatula and then you have a fish spatula. It has vents, very flexible and light, and once you start using it, it becomes integral. They’re not easy to find, but you find them in good cookware stores.”
One more thing: A professional chef uses tongs—they’re real fundamental, made of heavy gauge steel. Tongs are really the workhorse of the kitchen.”
Chef/Owner, LOLA, Covington
“A good filet knife, a cast iron pan and an oyster shucker. I tend to use a lot of butter when cooking my seafood, a lot of black pepper, not a lot of salt—the fish is already salty from the water—and lemon. That goes great with all seafood.”
Executive Chef, Borgne, New Orleans
“To cook great, simple seafood, olive oil, butter, garlic and lemon are the best places to start. They go with everything—fin fish, shrimp or crab. We [in Louisiana] obviously cook with a little more spice than other regions in the U.S., so you’ll want to keep a blackening spice blend in the kitchen. Also get a good boil mix. It isn’t a tough task to find. I like Cajunland, but find one that works best for you and keep it in the pantry.
“We skew towards keeping things simple in the kitchen, because we start with a product that no one else has access to. What kind of knife do you need? A sharp knife. I fish with my uncle and cousins all the time, and when we clean fish, we use $15 knives anyone can get.”
Chef, Manning’s Eat-Drink-Cheer, New Orleans
“As far as pots go, I like good heavy duty stainless potware, be it a saucepot or frying pan. If I’m doing something panéed (a Louisiana term for quick pan-frying), I’m going with cast iron.”