On this week's Louisiana Eats, we examine family food traditions from North Louisiana to the most southern tip of the boot!
First, Chef Nick Lama invites us into the kitchen at Avo, an intimate fine-dining restaurant near Audubon Park in Uptown New Orleans. A third-generation Sicilian and native New Orleanian, Nick most recently worked as Chef de Cuisine at Gautreau's, where he won Gambit's Emerging Chef Challenge. Nick gives us a Northern Italian pasta and truffle lesson and shares some insider pasta tips.
Then, we head up north to Shreveport, where our roving reporter, Chris Jay, reports from a Sicilian family-run road stop called Gullo's Fresh Produce & Bakeshop, known for its homestyle plate lunches and delectable cannoli.
Back in New Orleans, we receive a visit from Chef Cal Peternell of Alice Waters' Chez Panisse. Both at the renowned Berkeley restaurant and in his home kitchen, Cal is keeping Alice Waters' vision for sourcing the very best local, seasonal ingredients alive and well. Cal gives us the scoop on the inspiration for his forthcoming cookbook.
Next, we travel back in time and learn the history of The Napoleon House from the family's last owner, Sal Impastato. A place where the Pimm's Cups are always cold and the classic muffalatta sandwiches are always toasty warm, the Napoleon House is a landmark of New Orleans family restaurant heritage. In 2015, the Impastatos passed along that legacy to the hands of another revered family restaurateur, Ralph Brennan. Sal reflects on the 100-year-old French Quarter gem.
And New Orleanian writer and philanthropist Randy Fertel shares stories about his mother, Ruth U. Fertel, also known as the Empress of Steak. Ruth was the founder of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, a worldwide establishment today.
Get ready for our big family food reunion on this week’s Louisiana Eats!
Muffaletta Olive Salad
1 gallon large pimento stuffed olives, crushed slightly and drained
1 large jar pickled cauliflower, drained
2 jars capers, drained
1 whole stalk of celery and leaves, sliced diagonally
4 large carrots, sliced diagonally
4 tablespoons dried celery seeds
4 tablespoons dried oregano
1 large head garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 jar pepperoncini, drained
1 pound large, pitted Greek black olives, drained
2½ cups extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Mix together the olive oil and the red wine vinegar. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Place in a large jar and cover with the oil and vinegar mixture. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated until all used. May be used for both muffalettas and Italian salad.