• Tommy Centola

Two popular dishes from unique restaurant

In a city full of unique restaurants, Arnaud’s, in the French Quarter, certainly falls into that category. Opened in 1918 by a wine salesman named Arnaud Cazenave, Arnaud’s has become the largest freestanding restaurant in New Orleans. Considering it’s location in the French Quarter, that is no small feat. Count Arnaud, as he was known, kept reinvesting in his restaurant by buying up buildings around his.

Another reason Arnaud’s is unique is the Mardi Gras museum located on the property. The Count’s daughter, Germaine Cazenave Wells, is said to have been queen of over 22 carnival balls from 1937 to 1968. 13 of her queen costumes, along with other family costumes, fill the museum. It is free to the public during restaurant open hours.

The recipes I am featuring today are Gulf Snapper Pontchartrain and Strawberries Arnaud. These are two of their more popular dishes.Who’s ready to cook?

Anytime you see the word Pontchatrain with another seafood, there will be crabmeat on top of that seafood. Lake Pontchartrain is the northern border of the city. It is a popular place to catch Louisiana Blue Crabs. Now when you see a dish named Pontchartrain on a menu, you won’t need to read the description.

Gulf Snapper Pontchartrain

4 (6 to7 ounce) red snapper fillets

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Kosher or sea salt and white pepper, preferably freshly ground

Juice of one lemon

2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup lump crabmeat, picked over for bits of shell

Thin slices of lemon and parsley sprigs, for serving

Warm a platter in a low oven and preheat a grill, if desired, or place a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Brush both sides of each snapper fillet with the melted butter, using about 1/4 cup. Season both sides taste with salt and white pepper.

Place a small saucepan over high-heat and add the remaining butter. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and white pepper to taste and add the chopped parsley. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Grill or sauté fish for 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on their thickness, until done through, firm and opaque at the center. Transfer to a warm platter and cover with aluminum foil while you quickly finish the sauce.

Return the lemon-butter mixture to the heat and stir in the crabmeat. Toss gently for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, just to warm the crabmeat through. Spoon the crabmeat mixture over the fillets, garnish the platter with lemon slices and parsley and serve at once.

This dish takes advantage of the great strawberries that are grown north of Lake Pontchartrain in the Tangipahoa Parish. It’s their version of Cherries Jubilee. Other than the type of fruit, the main difference between these two dishes is the preparation. Strawberries Arnaud is not flambéed. This makes for a safer recipe for an amateur cook.

Strawberries Arnaud

1 cup ruby port

1 cup red burgundy-style wine

1/2 orange, sliced

1 lime, sliced

1 whole clove

1 cinnamon stick

1.2 cup granulated sugar

3 cups vanilla ice cream

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Six whole perfect strawberries with their stems, for garnish

Sprigs of fresh mint, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the port and wine and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then add the orange and lime slices, the spices and sugar. Return to a boil, then remove from the heat and cool for at least 30 minutes. Strain the sauce, cover and refrigerate until serving (the sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks)>

To serve, place one scoop of ice cream in each of 6 champagne glasses. Cover the ice cream with sliced strawberries and drizzle generously with the port sauce. Add a dollop of whipped cream, a whole strawberry, if desired, and a sprig of fresh mint for show and serve at once,

My original plan was to include their signature dish, Shrimp Arnaud. It is their version of Shrimp Remoulade. This recipe is a well kept secret. Fortunately, you can purchase bottles of the sauce. They also sell their Creole mustard, which I guarantee is a main ingredient in their Shrimp Arnaud sauce.

If you are looking for a great New Orleans dinner, Arnaud’s is high up on the list. I have had the pleasure of eating there many times. It takes great food and service to lure me into the French Quarter. Arnaud’s is one of my top 3 restaurants in this tourist mecca.

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