When Jonathan and I first visited New Orleans, Louisiana in early 2012, we fell in love! With the music, the architecture, the culture and, of course, the food. Oh God, the food!
So fast and so hard did we fall for The Big Easy, that no sooner had we landed back home, than we began planning our destination wedding that took place there later that year! (Click here to see photos of our magical N’awlins wedding in Jackson Square Park!)
To countdown the days till our return, and to get a better knowledge of and appreciation for the history and culture, I ordered Tom FitzMorris’s book Hungry Town, and we proceeded to make every single recipe as the day to our wedding and return to New Orleans approached!
This is one of the recipes that has become one of our absolute favorites. We have made this dish COUNTLESS times since we first tried it in early 2012. Thing is though, we kind of tweaked the recipe from the original – not out of any lofty plans for originality, but because living in the Central Valley of California, with fresh fish being scarce, we didn’t have huge lump crab meat to work with. So we reworked the recipe to be more of a chunky dip with the small crab pieces we could find at the local supermarket.
Since the ingredients are all the same, and just the method of presentation has changed, it’s not much of a tweak, but it’s our new favorite!
The original recipe is from a New Orleans restaurant called Berdou’s that closed in the 1990s. According to FitzMorris (who currently has the original recipe posted on his blog here):
The restaurant operated in the style of a much older restaurant. Locals loved it because, while the food was as fancy as you’d find in even the best traditional Creole restaurants, the restaurant itself was very modest. This dish was such a specialty that I’m asked for it often. People are surprised when I say I actually have it. George Berdou himself demonstrated it for my television show, and it was a keeper. It will appeal especially to garlic lovers. This is also a great dish made with crawfish tails or small shrimp.
You Will Need:
1 ½ sticks of butter
3 Tbs. flour
1 cup milk, warmed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 Tbs. chopped garlic
Pinch cayenne, to taste
1/2 cup sherry
1 lb. lump crabmeat
1 loaf of French bread
How To Make It:
Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan until it bubbles. Stir in the flour to make a blond roux; don’t allow it to brown. Whisk in the milk over low heat until the sauce thickens. Add the salt and keep warm.
In a second saucepan, heat the remaining butter until it bubbles, and in it saute the green onions, mushrooms, garlic and cayenne until the mushrooms are tender. Add the sherry and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
Carefully add the lump crabmeat, agitating the pan to combine with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the contents of the first saucepan into the pan with the crab, and then mix until well combined.
Garnish with cayenne sprinkles and fresh herbs or green onion and serve warm with toasted slices of French bread!