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My New Orleans

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Written by foodie pam   
Sunday, 21 March 2010
List of viewable recipes from "My New Orleans" by John Besh

My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh, (Andrews McMeel, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the American category AND a 2010 James Beard book awards finalist in the American Cooking category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide and James Beard Finalists' Guide.

Win a copy of My New Orleans! - details

ImageI tend to paint cookbooks with a very broad stroke, splitting them into two basic types: those that simply provide recipes (more like recipe books than cookbooks) and those that draw you in and give you much more of a feel for where the recipes came from and why they exist. While sometimes the line between these two type of books can be a gradual blur the really great books are obvious in where they fall.

John Besh's, "My New Orleans", is most definitely in the latter category. Besh's new book is an exposition on life in the New Orleans region. It is part autobiography, part history, part technique, and not to be left out, a whole lot of great recipes.

The recipes in Besh's book run the gamut from Jambalaya serving 15 people cooked in a 3 to 5 gallon pot, to simple grilled oysters, to more complex dishes that you'd be pleased to enjoy at any of Besh's high-end restaurants. The running thread through all the recipes is the link to local, fresh, seasonal ingredients with a rich history in the New Orleans area.

Given the wide range of recipes, it's difficult to pick only one recipe that stands out to reflect the scale and diversity of the cookbook. After much thought and page-flipping, the Louisiana Blackfish with Sweet Corn and Caviar (see below) is what caught my eye. It's made with simple ingredients, but the end result is far from simple. 

Win a copy of My New Orleans! - details

Louisiana Blackfish with Sweet Corn and Caviar

From My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh, (Andrews McMeel, 2009)

Serves 6

Blackfish is a wonderful delicacy, white and flaky, a fish that doesn't need much coaxing. (Striped bass or snapper is a good substitute.) I like to combine blackfish with my friend John Burke's Louisiana caviar roe from local paddlefish and bowfin, or choupiquet, from the Atchafalaya River.

For the corn pudding

Cooking spray
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups (from 7-8 ears) Silver Queen corn kernels
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
Salt
8 eggs

For the sauce
2 cups Basic Fish Pan Sauce
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
1 cup (from 3-4 ears) Silver Queen corn kernels
1 tablespoon butter
Salt

For the fish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 4-ounce blackfish filets
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt

For the corn and crab sauté
6 ears baby corn, blanched and sliced into rounds
1 cup jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
2 tablespoons butter
1 dash Tabasco
Salt
2 tablespoons (or more) Louisiana Caviar

Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh dill
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh chervil


For the corn pudding, preheat the oven to 275°. Spray six 2-3-ounce ramekins with cooking spray and set aside.
Put the cream and corn into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the corn and cream into a blender and purée until smooth. Add the cayenne and salt. With the motor running, add the eggs through the feed hole in the blender lid, blending the purée until the eggs are completely incorporated.

Divide the corn purée between the prepared ramekins. Set the ramekins in a pan large enough to hold them and fill the pan with enough hot water so that it comes halfway up the side of each. Bake the corn puddings until they are set, about 20 minutes. Remove the puddings from the hot water bath and set aside.

For the sauce, put the Fish Pan Sauce, lemongrass, and corn into a medium saucepan and simmer over moderate heat for 15 minutes. Add the butter and season with salt. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a small saucepan, discarding the solids. Keep the sauce warm in a warm spot on the stove.

For the fish, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over moderate heat. Score the skin of each blackfish filet in several places, then season the filets with lemon juice and salt. 

Cook the fish in the skillet, skin side down, until it is not quite cooked through, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook on the flesh side for about 2 minutes more. (The cooking times depend on the desired level of doneness; I'm always wary of overcooking.) Transfer the fish to paper towels to drain.

For the corn and crab sauté, return the skillet used for frying the fish to medium-high heat. Add the corn, crab, and butter and sauté until hot. Add the Tabasco and season with salt. Set aside.

Unmold the corn puddings into each of 6 wide warmed soup bowls. Place a fish filet over each pudding. Put a heaping spoonful of the corn and crab sauté over each piece of fish.

To froth the warm sauce, use an electric hand mixer and half-submerge the beaters in the sauce. Beat on high speed until a froth forms. Ladle the froth around the fish in each bowl.

Top each dish with a small dollop of Louisiana Caviar and sprigs of chervil and dill and chive blossoms if you like.

Win a copy of My New Orleans

The registered Project Foodie user that leaves the most memorable or creative comment below will win a copy of My New Orleans.  Keep the comments clean and relevant - tell us what attracts you to My New Orleans and/or what you feel makes that book award-worthy and we'll select one to be the winner of the profiled book.

Please note that you must be registered to enter this giveaway and upon winning provide a US postal address for us to ship My New Orleans to.  We'll announce the winner on May 2nd.

If you have not yet registered with Project Foodie, please take a moment to do so right now--it's absolutely free; and we promise never to share your email address with spammers or other unsavory types.

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 March 2010 )
MyNew Orleans Cook Book
Melane (Unregistered) 2010-03-25 12:07:39

I am from Northern Minnesota and have visited New Orleans several time to visit my brother and sister-in-law, whom i miss very much long with my first baby niece Lizzi,,the reason I would like to win this cook book is to be able to cook some of there favorite dishes when they come home for a visit and also for my family as we love the southern cooking and food they have to offer it is much different than our food selections up here. Thanks for your consideration. Melane B. Virginia, MN
glenarden (Registered) 2010-03-25 12:17:36

I'm New Orleans born. Haven't lived there in many years, but it's home to me. I adore books of any kind relating to New Orleans.
dootsie (Registered) 2010-03-25 12:58:02

I saw the phrase "corn pudding" and immediately began to salivate!

I'm always a bit torn on cookbooks' style--I want them to give me more than the recipe, but at the same time, I don't want an novella about Cajun cookin'. I'd be interested to see where this book falls on my scale of "good cook book". Plus, I desperately need to learn how to cook with flava.
Sibert (Registered) 2010-03-26 05:46:23

Cajun cooking is in a class of its own. Cajuns can take the simplest ingredients, spice it up and it is like heaven. When you have the fortune to be exposed to this cusine and learn to cook with a cajun style you will make alot of people happy.
my foodie wish
symigoddess (Registered) 2010-03-26 08:40:16

I love New Orleans, and on a recent trip was enchanted with Chef John Besh's line of restaurants (I went on a foodie tour). I would like nothing more to be able to bring a bit of that back to Texas with me to relive the experience and share with the locals the sensory bliss I experienced
Lynne (Unregistered) 2010-03-26 08:43:43

I spent a very memorable birthday in New Orleans with friends. I was lucky enough to take a cooking class and learn how to make gumbo and jambalaya. Learning the trinity and turning my roux into the dark color with that lovely almond smell was an accomplished feat. I would love to expand my cooking recipes with some more creative cajun and New Orleans homestyle recipe that I have seen in your cookbook John. Can I say pick me pick me so I can expand my technique and the love of your city !!
My New Orleans
Elaine DiRico (Unregistered) 2010-03-26 08:53:52

Living in Austin, with NOLA just a few hours east, through some of the richest American Culinary Culture, I am living the dream. A few times a year, I head out, cooler in the trunk, and do the rounds of the bayous, ending up for Happy Hour at Luke, Besh's restaurant. Breakfast the next day at Mother's, walk over to see what the special is that night at Besh's August, restock my pantry at the shops; fresh ground grits, a couple of new hot sauces, some crawfish boil in a zip loc baggie with a hand written label, and some fresh file powder. drive out by the lake and hope to get a meal at Le Provence. A few oysters here and there, and back through the bayous, picking up a package of frozen gator on the drive home. Yep- living the dream!
My foodie wish
fins2west (Registered) 2010-03-26 08:58:14

I spent a very memorable birthday in New Orleans with friends. I was lucky enough to take a cooking class and learn how to make gumbo and jambalaya. Learning the trinity and turning my roux into the dark color with that lovely almond smell was an accomplished feat. I would love to expand my cooking recipes with some more creative cajun and New Orleans homestyle recipe that I have seen in your cookbook John. Can I say pick me pick me so I can expand my technique and the love of your city !!I am also now registered with Project Foodie!!
august
susan benton (Unregistered) 2010-03-26 09:01:03

I went to high school in New Orleans, and moved after graduation from LSU. It is where my taste buds blossomed and I learned what truly good food was. From haute to dives, NOLA has it all. While taking our son over 8 years ago to NOLA for a birthday trip,now 16,we stayed at the Windsor Court. With so many old classic restaurants, I asked if there were any "newbies" in town that I must try. Restaurant August was recommended, and conveniently across the street.
This new restaurant was all the rave along with it's amazing chef John Besh. My son was worried there would be nothing he could possibly enjoy, but later he found upon dining his new passion would be gnocchi! John had no idea when he talked to us at our table that evening that he had opened up the palette of an 8 yr old boy who from then on would try most anything set in front of him. He now has joined the "Foodie" club in our family, and like me appreciates fine dining and the hunt for a good dive, especially those in New Orleans. Willie Maye's Scotch house to name one, which our family donated supplies and time to help rebuild after Katrina in conjunction with SFA.
My passion after eating is cooking, and I collect old Louisiana cookbooks. Trying to get all of the ones in The Louisiana cookbook museum! I also enjoy the current books of my most beloved chefs as well as follow James Beard and Farm to Table recommendations. I have all of Chef Besh's but do not have this one! I would appreciate the opportunity to win, and would go further to ask that if I do it would mean so much if he could possibly sign the copy. Tho not too far from home, and able to still have access to great seafood on the Emerald Coast, NOTHING can compare to the priceless beauty, history, culture and diversity of the food and individuals that make up the Cast iron melting pot called New Orleans.
susanb (Registered) 2010-03-26 09:10:34

I wrote my request above before registering. I am now Registered! I can't wait till May 2nd to see if I will be able to win this wonderfully nominated book to expand my family's cooking techniques and love of food in the most celebrated part of our home....the kitchen!
My New Orleans Cook Book !!
Terri Aron (Unregistered) 2010-03-26 09:16:54

I'm from "WHO DAT" Baton Rouge, but live in Atlanta, Ga.
Would love to win your cook book. Have eaten at your restaurant. Your food is the best of the South !!
Laissez les bons temp Rouler
"Just call me Bayou Contessa"
My New Orleans
bevhobbs (Registered) 2010-03-26 09:18:53

Every time I go to the bookstore, I take John Besh's cookbook and sit and read several sections. The book takes me back to our annual visits to the Jazz Fest, and the extra days we spend wandering the city and the area. We have eaten at Restaurant August, John Besh came over to our table, tried to figure out our accents, talked about the Boston food scene, and was just wonderful. The food was amazing.

This cookbook evokes the city of New Orleans and the surrounding area and also contributes to sustainable fishing practices. John has done an amazing job of putting the recipies, the city, the area and the ecology together in an enjoyable, readable way.
Cajun Food in a College Dorm
bookish88 (Registered) 2010-03-26 09:23:58

My first exposure to Cajun cuisine was crawfish etouffee while driving 12 hours from South Carolina to Maryland: I was hooked. Living on a college campus is not conducive to home-cooking by any means, but I have managed to re-create several Cajun and Southern dishes (including shrimp and grits) in a dirty, cramped, ridiculously small college dorm kitchen. No easy feat, ladies and gents. But if I can cook Cajun in these environs, imagine what I could do with the right kitchen and the right cookbook.
Oh My Stars....
jasmin (Unregistered) 2010-03-26 09:48:24

Cajun cookin' conjures up a whole host of emotions perhaps better relegated to a voice over chronicling the life of a precocious young girl in a faded cotton dress. The romanticism of the south, the bayous, deltas and weeping branches are never quite complete without the obligatory fish fry, greens and black eyed peas. I love the south and this book would be a welcome edition this California girl with roots firmly planted in West Monroe, Louisiana.
Oh My Stars...
jettrash23 (Registered) 2010-03-26 09:50:11

Cajun cookin' conjures up a whole host of emotions perhaps better relegated to a voice over chronicling the life of a precocious young girl in a faded cotton dress. The romanticism of the south, the bayous, deltas and weeping branches are never quite complete without the obligatory fish fry, greens and black eyed peas. I love the south and this book would be a welcome edition to this California girl with roots firmly planted in West Monroe, Louisiana.
R E S P E C T and L O V E
ramiparker (Registered) 2010-03-26 10:01:36

What a beautiful legacy John is leaving to his boys within the pages of his cookbook. Not only does he give us all a taste of New Orleans through his food, but he does it through the respect and love he has for the traditions we have deep in the south. Love the way he expresses the love and respect he has for his family and his in laws and how much they played a part of his food journey.
I have purchased this book as a gift to give away and on that day I may cry for I tend not to spend so much on myself as I do others. However, I have hinted to my husband that it would be a fabulous Mother's Day gift. It would be even nicer to win it b/c he'll most probably forget.
NOLA
ECito (Registered) 2010-03-26 18:03:17

We recently visited New Orleans for a planned foodie vacation. It turned out to be a wedding in your lovely city. My husband and I have been together for 16 years and finally made it official on St. Patrick's Day 2010. It was wonderful to have included John's restaurants in our trip. It was most memorable. I would like to keep those fond memories of the cuisine of NOLA in my own kitchen and share them with family and friends.
Inspiration
medicsgirl01 (Registered) 2010-03-28 10:47:57

With all the different cultures and flavors that New Orleans has to offer, its inspired me very much in my cooking. I am just a simple mom who’s passion is cooking for her family.
I am a firm believer in “a good home cooked meal, helps heals the heart”. Our journey began when my partner Christy, a EMT was deployed from Ft. Worth, Texas to NOLA, after Katrina to directly aide in the rescue efforts for two months. A year later, mustering up the courage for the first visit back was very hard for her. Leaving devastation, but excited at seeing the new life NOLA was creating. Coming back over the years, it has been filled with exciting new memories for both us. The art, culture and heritage that New Orleans influences into our culinary world is unsurpassed. We would be truly honored to receive your book and would cherish it for years to come.

Thank you for inspiring us with every new recipe, we cook along side you, sharing your passion and always keeping NOLA close to our hearts..
Fan!
amleequi (Registered) 2010-03-30 16:57:09

If my husband had one wish it would be to eat at Restaurant August! Financial times being what they are, it would be a bit difficult to make his wish come true! If I won this cookbook, with guidance from Chef Besh, a little bit of skill and alot of NOLA luck, I could bring Restaurant August to him.
MY NEW ORLEANS
Lisa Simon (Unregistered) 2010-04-11 16:44:10

I roamed through New Orleans as an undergraduate with many friends and no money. After we tried the tourist traps, we set our sights on eating our way across the dives of the city. It was one of the best vacations of my life. Let Proust have his madeleines, I'll take chicory coffee and a beignet to prompt my earliest loves and heartaches.
Love
fins2west (Registered) 2010-04-12 07:07:04

I made the Blackfish recipe and hoping to win the cookbook to complete other wonderful recipes and read more about New Orleans through your writing Chef Besh!! I am taking a trip later this year to visit New Orleans and plan a trip to August.
southerncooker (Registered) 2010-04-12 17:15:26

I have never had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans but I enjoyed watching Chef Besh on The Next Iron Chef. I think with this book I would be able to visit NO by way of Besh's wonderful recipes. I wish him luck in the awards.
porkbellyrulez (Registered) 2010-04-23 16:18:48

What draws me to My New Orleans cook book is I don't have one cookbook in my library that has connection to New Orleans cooking. It is always a cuisine that I have wanted to develop my cooking skills with, but just haven't found the right book. I believe this would be a great start.
And the winner is...
pam (Publisher) 2010-05-01 14:42:10

Wow! New Orleans, and this book, have an amazing fan club. The stories in these comments are amazing and the choice was very hard but ultimately the winner is: susanb! Congratulations.
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