In honor of Mardi Gras (tomorrow!), here are some of our favorite recently published New Orleans cookbooks.
New Orleans Classic Gumbos & Soups
By Kit Wohl
In the introduction to her new book, New Orleans Classic Gumbos & Soups, Kit Wohl (author of Arnaud's Restaurant Cookbook) explains that the region's rich cultural diversity is reflected in the incredible variety of gumbos and soups that are made and enjoyed there. Her book is a tribute to that diversity and features 37 recipes from some of Louisiana 's best chefs (Leah Chase, John Besh, Susan Spicer, and Donald Link to name just a few). Wohl, who designed the book and took all the photographs, includes recipes for just about every Cajun and Creole soup you can imagine (Creole Seafood Gumbo from Chef Brian Landry of Galatoire's, Rabbit, Oyster, and Andouille Gumbo from Chef John Folse, Arnaud's Shrimp Bisque, and Broussard's Bouillabaisse).
Commander's Wild Side
By Ti Adelaide Martin and Tory McPhail
In Commander's Wild Side, Ti Adelaide Martin and Chef Tory McPhail focus on some of the more unusual ingredients that make their way into Louisiana cooking such as alligator, dove, black bear, and mountain lion. The concept grew out of the authors' shared passion for "cooking and celebrating the riches of the land and water" and is a follow-up to their television show, Off the Menu, which features McPhail and his staff hunting and fishing in the wild then returning to the restaurant to create new dishes.
The recipes are divided into categories based on their origin: sea, stream, air, and land, plus a section for not-so-wild-game, which means pork, beef, and lamb. And since these aren't your average ingredients, Martin and McPhail offer helpful prep information as well as substitutions when possible. Recipes include Chestnut-Crusted Dove Beignets with Sangria-Soaked Cherries, Seared Shark with Crushed Parsley Sauce, and Grilled Elk Fajitas with Tequila-Tomatillo Salsa.
Cooking with the Uglesiches
By John Uglesich
Uglesich's, which probably has one of the most difficult to pronounce names in restaurant history (it's YU-gul-sitch, by the way), was an incredibly popular family-run seafood and po'-boy shop in New Orleans for over 80 years. Up until its very last day (May 5, 2005), fans were known to line-up around the block waiting for a table. Cooking with the Uglesiches is the second book from John Uglesich, who also wrote the Uglesich's Restaurant Cookbook. He is the grandson of founder Sam Uglesich and son of owners Gail and Anthony.
The first half of the book features 19 recipes from the restaurant (Crabmeat Louie, Crawfish Creole, and Shrimp Etouffée) and many more from Gail and Anthony Uglesich's home kitchen (Oysters Rockefeller Casserole, Stuffed Cucumbers, and Gail's Lasagna). The second half of the book is devoted to Uglesich's place in New Orleans life with photos from the restaurant's last day in business and emails that the restaurant received after Hurricane Katrina. Though Uglesich's closed several months earlier, fans and friends reached out to the family and staff offering memories, prayers, support, and even places to stay.
Cooking Up A Storm, Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans
By Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker
Cooking Up a Storm is an attempt to rebuild New Orleans "rich culinary history, one lost recipe and one comfort meal at a time." In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Times-Picayune food editor Judy Walker invited readers to participate in a recipe exchange with the goal of helping people who lost recipes and cookbooks in the storm. The column was a tremendous success and after many requests, the Times-Picayune decided to create a cookbook. The resulting book, written by Walker and cookbook author Marcelle Bienvenu, contains recipes for over 225 New Orleans favorites. The contributions are from chefs and restaurants (Chef Austin Leslie's Mirliton Gumbo, Bread Pudding from the Bon Ton, and Tasso Shrimp with Five-Pepper Jelly from Commander's Palace) as well as home cooks (Crawfish Bread, Garlic Shrimp, and Chicken and Sausage Jambalya).
For more on Mardi Gras, including recipes and drinks from New Orleans , check out our complete guide.
By Lauren Salkeld