What is the best restaurant in New Orleans? There is no wrong answer to that question. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. One of the most common answers is Commander’s Palace, in the Garden District.
Opened in 1893, Commander’s Palace has been a landmark in the city. When the Brennan family took over in 1974, their changes brought this restaurant to the legendary status it now has. They have had a group of chefs throughout the kitchen that is unparalleled. Paul Prudhomme started making the culinary changes in 1975. He was followed up by a chef I know everyone has heard of, Emeril Lagasse. Following them were Jamie Shannon, Tory McPhail and now in the executive chef position is the first female, Meg Bickford.
Today’s recipes would make an excellent meal. The first is a seafood appetizer, Shrimp and Tasso Henican. The entrée is a Brennan’s classic, Steak Diane with New Potatoes and Parsley Butter. Since we are not in New Orleans, gather up your ingredients and Let’s head to the kitchen!
Shrimp and Tasso Henican
This is a dish that was created by the late chef Jamie Shannon. He took over the kitchen when Emeril left to start his empire. It has been one of the most popular dishes ever since its debut. It’s not as spicy as you may think.
32 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 ounces tasso, julienne into 1-inch strips
16 pickled okra, cut in half from top to bottom
5 Pepper Jelly (see below)
Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc (see below)
Make a 1/4-inch incision down the back of each shrimp and place one strip of tasso on each incision. Secure with a toothpick. Lightly dust each shrimp with seasoned flour and fry.
Place cooked shrimp in a bowl with 4 ounces of Crystal Hot Butter sauce and toss to coat.
Place 4 pieces of okra on each plate with a portion of the 5 Pepper Jelly. Place 4 coated shrimp on each plate and serve.
Five Pepper Jelly
1 each red, yellow and green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 ounces light corn syrup
6 ounces white vinegar
Put syrup and vinegar in a pot over medium heat and reduce until sticky. Add remaining ingredients and cook until the peppers are soft. Add salt to taste.
Crystal Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc
5 ounces crystal hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon shallot, minced
2 ounces heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds butter
Sauté garlic and shallot in a pan with a little butter. Add hot sauce and reduce by 75%. Add Cream and reduce again by 50%. Slowly whip in softened butter a little at a time.
Steak Diane with New Potatoes and Parsley Butter
This is the first dish that the Brennan children learn to make. It’s not a difficult dish to make, which makes it a great beginners dish. Since it is flavor-able, a beginner feels accomplished when serving this dish.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Mix parsley into butter and scrape into a small crock. Refrigerate until ready to use.
12 slices beef tenderloin, each about 2 1/2 ounces
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon A-1 steak sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, boiled
Season meat with Creole seasoning.
Melt butter in a hot iron skillet and quickly sauté tenderloins to desired degree of doneness. Remove meat to a warm serving platter and keep warm. Add Worcestershire sauce and steak sauce to butter remaining in skillet and cook, stirring in all bits of meat glaze from bottom and sides of pan. Add parsley. When the sauce is reduced slightly, pour it over the beef. Serve with boiled potatoes and parsley butter.
If you find yourself in New Orleans and you want to celebrate, make a reservation at Commander’s Palace. You will be amazed by the food and the service. If you happen to be in town on a Sunday, Commander’s created the Jazz Brunch. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon.