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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Recipes from oldest restaurant in New Orleans

Antoine’s is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Since 1840, Antoine’s has been operated by the family of the founder, Antoine Alciatore. This French Quarter restaurant is a great meal for old school dinning. There have been many dishes that were invented here: Oysters Rockefeller, Pompano en Papillote and Eggs Sardou to name a few.

While they have shared most of their recipes, the Oysters Rockefeller recipe has never left Antoine’s kitchen. Many recipes that you find for their signature dish contain spinach. There is none in Antoine’s. Since I can’t share the Oysters Rockefeller recipe, here are three from their menu: Crabmeat au Gratin, Chicken Bonne Femme and Chocolate Mousse.

Crabmeat au Gratin is a great way to start any meal. I like the flavor that Antoine’s gets by using Romano cheese. It’s a cheese that is normally not found in an au gratin dish. It adds a level of deliciousness that is not often found.

Crabmeat au Gratin

1 cup hot Béchamel Sauce (recipe to follow)

2 cups lump crabmeat

Salt and ground white pepper

3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

3 tablespoons grated Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Blend the Béchamel Sauce and the crabmeat. Add salt and pepper to taste and heat for a minute. Soon mixture into 6 small ovenproof dishes.

Combine the grated cheeses and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake in a preheated 400℉ oven until top begins to brown.

Béchamel Sauce

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups warm scalded milk

Salt and ground white pepper

Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Stir and cook until the mixture becomes foamy. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil, then turn the fire down to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the fire and dot the top of sauce with a few pieces of butter to prevent a film from forming.

This is one of my favorite chicken dishes. It is a surprisingly simple dish, requiring a few ingredients. The key to the flavor in this dish is the bacon drippings. Cooking everything in the drippings adds the essence of bacon in every bite. It’s a bacon lover’s dish.

Chicken Bonne Femme

1 pound bacon, cut in julienne strips

3 large potatoes

3 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each

Salt and ground white pepper

1 cup butter

2 cups chopped onions

3 cloves garlic, minced

Cook the bacon until almost crisp and remove from skillet, leaving the drippings. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/8-inch slices, like potato chips. Sauté these potatoes in the hot bacon drippings until they are limp. Keep warm.

Wash and dry chickens, disjoint them and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the pieces in a pan with 1 cup butter until the chicken is nice and brown. Add the onions and cook until they become limp. Add the garlic.

Combine the bacon and the potatoes with the chicken and adjust the seasoning. Cook together for 10 minutes more.

Most people end their meal at Antoine’s with Baked Alaska. While it is a wonderful dessert, I prefer the Chocolate Mousse. They use dark chocolate and just a little sugar, ending your meal with just a touch of sweetness. It is a great dessert for people watching their sugar levels.

Chocolate Mousse

2/3 cup dark semi sweet chocolate chips

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons water

4 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon sugar

Put the chocolate chips, salt and water together in a saucepan and place on a low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and mix the egg yolks and vanilla extract into the chocolate.

Whip up 1/2 cup of the whipping cream and fold this into the chocolate mixture. Spoon into six cups and chill.

To serve, whip up the remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream with a teaspoon of sugar and top each mousse with a spoon of the sweetened whipped cream.

Antoine’s menu used to be in French only which required first time visitors to depend on the recommendations of their waiter. Now that it is printed with English translations, you can make your own choices. The waiters were not happy with this change. Instead of asking for the waiter’s opinion, the customers can read the menu, which leads to a longer time to take an order. So much for progress.

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