Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where the Livin' is Easy

Just back from a trip to New Orleans, contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food shares some of his favorite recipes from the Big Easy.

Besides an amazing meal at Cochon, another at the adjacent Cochon Butcher, and some incredible bar food at our friends Ian and Laurie’s Iris, we mostly ate po-boy’s and shrimp boil. I hit a local farmers market (above) and was once again reminded of how spoiled we are here, but I picked up some fresh drum (aka redfish) and beautiful little white eggplants.

Olive Oil Poached Drum with Garlic, Capers, and Pimenton

You can substitute any firm, white-fleshed fish for the drum, but cut about a pound into pieces about an inch and half square. Soak about a quarter cup of salt-packed capers, then rinse and drain. Chop a few cloves of garlic.

Gently heat enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a skillet large enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Keep the heat low enough so the fish isn’t sizzling; you’re poaching, not frying. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the fish and capers. Sprinkle everything with enough pimenton to give a bit of color, about a half teaspoon. (Pimenton is Spanish smoked paprika; I prefer the ‘sweet’ variety, which isn’t really spicy).

Move the fish around, turning it over frequently, until it’s just cooked through. Serve with rice and ratatouille (below).

Bywater Ratatouille

We stayed with a friend in the Bywater, a funky little neighborhood east of the French Quarter. Some of the produce for this came from the Edible Schoolyard at Samuel J. Green Charter School.

Heat a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil in a big skillet. Add a chopped onion, a pinch of salt, and cook for a few minutes. Add a chopped bell pepper (red, green, or both) and cook a little. Cut a large eggplant into roughly half inch slices, then cut those into cubes and add. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, then add a splash of Katz Gravenstein Apple Cider vinegar and 2-3 chopped tomatoes and cook another 15 minutes or so. Drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil at the table.

Photo courtesy Crescent City Farmers' Market.


Unknown said...

Such a simple, delicate meal--but one that won't leave you hungry by any means. It's nice that you allow the main components to shine with a short list of high quality complementary ingredients.

Kathleen Bauer said...

That's why I love Jim's recipes, too. They're always so simple and seasonal!