Seasonal Holiday Dining

November 02, 2015
It’s been said – in multiple settings by many a New Orleanian -- that south Louisiana has four seasons: crayfish, shrimp, crabs and oysters. Or, another take on the seasonal changes, the four seasons can be described as Ponchatoula strawberries, Creole Tomatoes, Ruston peaches and Oak Grove sweet potatoes, or substitute watermelon, oranges, sugar cane, rice or a myriad of other bounteous ingredients from the state’s farms, fields and water bodies.

For chefs and restaurateurs, fresh, cyclical ingredients are always best and with the changing seasons, menus morph into dishes featuring current market items of what’s seasonal and ripening now. New Orleans’ cognizant, creative chefs are inspired by the newly picked, plucked, raised or caught ingredients to create new dishes and combinations from the selections for their customers.

At Broussard’s, one of New Orleans’ four Grand Dame Creole restaurants, Executive Chef Neil Swidler began serving Friday lunch this fall. In addition, he modified the evening menu to reflect the seasonal changes. However, customer demand ensures that available, year-around favorites remain on the menus as well.

Broussard’s luncheon starters are Baked Crab and Gulf Shrimp Gratinee with grilled cauliflower and toasted French bread; Roast Duck and Pepper Jack Hushpuppies with Creole tomato glaze and buttermilk dressing; Steen’s Candied Pork Belly with red bean pancakes and crème fraiche; Red Chili Glazed Fried Chicken with smoked cheddar biscuit and pineapple slaw; and Pick of the Pantry: Tabasco deviled eggs, housemade pickles. Southern pimento cheeses spread, smashed potato salad and pineapple slaw.

Soups offered are the Chef’s seasonally-inspired Soup du Jour with accouterments or the Turtle Soup with Sherry.

Salads include Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with spinach. bacon, mushrooms, tomato vinaigrette and Tabasco deviled eggs; Blackened Tuna Remoulade Sushi Stack with avocado sesame, cucumber, sticky rice and pickled okra; and Southern Cupboard, with Limestone Bibb lettuce, cucumbers haricot verts with buttermilk Vidalia dressing and pimento cheese hushpuppy croutons. The latter is also available with added fried chicken thigh, seared shrimp or blackened tuna.

Sandwiches are “Richman’s“ Poor Boy with fried Gulf oysters, Rockefeller pesto, Applewood smoked bacon and Herbsaint aioli; Broussard’s burger with smoked cheddar, red onion haystack, mustard aioli and housemade tomato ketchup; and Gulf Seafood Cake Sliders with Creole tartar sauce, pickled okra and sweet potato chips. All sandwiches are served with smashed potato salad.

Among the featured lunch entrees are Pecan Crusted Grilled Pork Chop with Creole honey mustard, ginger whipped sweet potatoes and curried carrots; Pepper Sauce-Lacquered Gulf Fish with mirliton fricassee and crispy red onions; Creole Surf n’Turf Filet Mignon and BBQ Shrimp with roasted garlic mash and Creole Meuniere sauce; and Oyster and Artichoke Fettuccine with cayenne lemon butter and choupique mascarpone focaccia.

In addition, Broussard’s offers a two-course $19.20 menu celebrating the restaurant’s founding 95 years ago in1920. Punches are served for 95 cents!

Broussard’s, 819 Conti St. New Orleans (504)581-3866

Although the recent passing of renowned and beloved Chef Paul Prudhomme left an entire community as well as fans from around the world saddened, his highly regarded K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen will be in good hands as Executive Chef Paul Miller and Prudhomme’s long-time staffers continue to run the iconic restaurant and tend to day-to-day operations.

As fall arrives, the staff and the restaurant’s many followers around the globe look forward to the annual turducken feast, which happily coincides with Thanksgiving. However, K-Paul’s holds the feast on the day before turkey day.

The youngest of 13 children, Chef Prudhomme, was always adventuresome, cooking by his mother’s side as a boy and as a young man traveling the country to explore and learn about every conceivable culinary culture.

When he returned to Louisiana he continued to experiment and retained the practice of using the freshest and the best ingredients available. “He created the turducken years ago,” said Chef Miller, “perhaps in the early ’80s on a radio show broadcast from upstairs where the prep work could be done.”

Miller continued, “Chef Paul wanted to do something different and new, and this thing just took off! “

For the uninitiated, a turducken is basically a de-boned chicken stuffed inside a de-boned duck which is then stuffed inside a de-boned turkey with wings and drumsticks still attached. Each fowl has a layer of a different dressing inside. Additional portions of the three dressings: andouille, corn bread and shrimp are also baked separately. A sweet potato-eggplant gravy is made to accompany the turducken.

“During this season, we use the fall vegetables and all the new stuff coming in … only fresh daily, seafood, fish and farm goods,” said Miller.

Chef Miller and all the folks at K-Paul’s are looking forward to turducken day, and Thanksgiving (when the restaurant will be closed for the day), and the holiday luncheons, private parties and gatherings that continue through December and into the New Year.

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, 416 Chartres St., New Orleans, (504) 596-2530

The Bombay Club’s new Chef d’Cuisine Ben McCauley is kicking off the fall season with a new menu geared to area harvests.

An up-and-coming young chef, McCauley stated his philosophy, “In the Bombay kitchen, we respect and embrace the bounty of the local land and waters. We are as seasonal as we can possibly be,” he said.

“We try to only serve vegetables and catches when they are at their best. Our dishes are simple and cooked from scratch to showcase the honest flavors of the products. Things may come and go, so savor every moment,” he added.

To begin, Chef McCauley offers a braised Rabbit Pot Pie, with garlic, rosemary, and thyme, confit potatoes, baby carrots, English peas, roasted mushrooms, rabbit gravy and a buttermilk biscuit.

Other starters are a Boudin Scotch Egg with bacon braised black eye peas; Chicken Fried Quail with bourbon honey, apple and fennel slaw; New Orleans BBQ Shrimp with grana padano grits; Charred Spanish Octopus with white bean salad, olives and tomato; Fried Brussels Sprouts with bacon jam and poached egg; and Tagliatelle with pecan pesto.

Mid-meal nibbles from the pantry include Spiced Carrots with ricotta, arugula and satsuma vinaigrette; Roasted Rapini with lemon vinaigrette and hazelnuts; Pickled Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with mirliton slaw and green goddess; and Butter Lettuce Salad with, apple, pear, pecans, fennel, bleu cheese and honey citrus vinaigrette.

The third, or main courses feature Tomato Braised Pork Shank with grana padano grits; Bone-in Painted Hills Ribeye with confit potatoes and roasted garlic butter; Lamb Leg with Abita root beer glaze and buttermilk mash; Roasted Chicken with black garlic pan sauce and mustard seed popcorn rice.

Others are Confit Duck Leg with seeet tae laze and white bean cassoulet; Cracklin’ Crusted Fish & Chips with shrimp rinds and malt vinegar Remoulade; Seared Tuna with charred okra, wild rice, peanut romesco and fennel dashi; and Farro Risotto with seasonal vegetables.

Bombay Club, 830 Rue Conti, New Orleans (504) 577-2237
During the month of December, the city celebrates Christmas, New Orleans Style, offering numerous holiday activities such as Jackson Square Caroling, holiday home tours, cathedral concerts, and many other various events.

Reveillon dinners based on mid-1800s Creole traditions have been revived over the past quarter century with nearly 50 restaurants participating in this year. All restaurants are serving 4-course dinners with some even offering a little “lagniappe” for diners. In some restaurants, “Reveillon on the Rocks,” luscious libations crafted by New Orleans’ talented mixologists, also will be a part of the celebration.

The Reveillon tradition will be in full bloom at Restaurant R’evolution in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. One of the city’s top dining establishments, R’evolution is owned and operated by award-winning chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto.

The collaboration between these two world-famous chefs—with very different backgrounds – has produced modern and imaginative reinterpretations of classic Creole and Cajun cuisine.

In addition to the Reveillon dinner, R’evolution’s bar staff concocted a Reveillon on the Rocks cocktail for guests. Available through December, the Shimmering Flame is made with Pim’s No. 1, house made ginger beer infused with cucumber and beets, seasonal fruit and sparkling wine from the restaurant’s 10,000 bottle cellar

R’evolution’s Reveillon feast begins with a choice of Sweet Potato & Andouille Bisque or Seafood Gumbo.

For the next course, diners can choose from Cranberry Waldorf Salad with smoked walnuts, caramel apple and celery Rémoulade.

The main course offerings are Beurre Noisette-Poached Gulf Fish with lobster nage, root vegetable croquette and preserved fennel, or, Braised Boneless Short Ribs, rutabaga-citrus puree and red wine sauce

A dessert duo of local Stout Chocolate Cake & White Chocolate Bread Pudding Crème Brûlée are sure to add a sweet ending to a fine dining experience!

R’evolution, 777 Bienville St., New Orleans, (504)553-2277