Commander’s Palace (New Orleans, LA)

With a wine list that reads like a book on winemaking history, this is a not-to-miss restaurant for wine buffs.


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The Brennan family fully intends to pamper and delight its guests with haute Creole cuisine in its Garden District Victorian. “Go ahead and be a little bad,” they say, “that’s what living in New Orleans is all about.”

Destination Bottles:

Château Cos d’Estournel 1928 Saint-Estèphe
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé 1945 Vieilles Vignes (Musigny)
Domaine de Bellivière 2008 L’Effraie (Coteaux du Loir)

The wine list reads like a book on winemaking history. The 2,400 choices include 200 half-bottles and 50 wines by the glass or half-glass, including mature and highly allocated vintages at accessible prices.

For more information about this New Orleans, LA, restaurant, click here.

For more restaurants that serve sinful soul food, visit Art and SoulCirca 1886, Miller Union and Proof on Main.

Hot Recipe: Fried Oyster Salad with Anchovy Garlic Dressing

At Commander’s Palace, the most popular salads include something fried: chicken, crawfish or this staff favorite—plump, lightly fried oysters on cold crisp lettuce bathed in tangy dressing.

For the salad:
1½ cups day-old bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 roasted peppers, one each red, yellow, green, sliced
1 large head romaine lettuce
1 red onion, cut top to bottom, cored, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the oysters:
8 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
1 cup masa
¼ cup Creole seafood seasoning, plus extra to taste
2 pints shucked oysters in liquor

Prepare the croutons: Cut bread into dice, season lightly with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss. Crisp in a 300°F oven for 15–20 minutes.

Prepare the peppers: Preheat oven to 500°F. Oil peppers and roast on a small cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until peppers are browned and skin is blistered on all sides. Cover peppers with plastic wrap to steam and cool for 20 minutes. Unwrap and gently peel away skin and seeds. Do not rinse in water as that will wash away flavor.

Prepare the salad: Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces discarding stems, core and any brown spots on leaves. Wash in cold water. Spin dry and set aside.

Prepare the oysters: Bring oil to 325ºF (about 15 minutes) in a 6 quart pot, measuring temperature with a candy thermometer. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, masa and Creole seafood seasoning. Dredge each oyster in the mixture, letting the oyster liquor act as an adhesive. Shake off excess coating. Fry oysters in small batches, ½ pint at a time, to prevent them from sticking together and dropping oil temperature. Cook until edges curl and oysters are crisp and brown (45–60 seconds.) Drain on a cloth towel and immediately sprinkle with Creole seafood seasoning.

To serve: In a large bowl, toss lettuce, croutons, onions, dressing, salt and pepper until blended. Divide into 6 plates, sprinkle with cheese, top with peppers, surround with oysters. Serves 6.


Creole Seafood Seasoning and Anchovy Garlic Dressing

For Creole seafood seasoning:
1 cup each salt, paprika                                                                                                       
¼ cup granulated or powdered garlic                                                                       
¼ cup freshly ground black pepper (less if pepper is not to your taste)                                
2 tablespoons each cayenne pepper, thyme, oregano                                                         
3 tablespoons granulated or powdered onion

To make the Creole seafood seasoning: Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use ¼ cup or to taste, plus extra for the oysters. The rest will keep indefinitely in an airtight glass jar. Makes about 3 cups.

For the anchovy garlic dressing:                                                                                     
¼ cup packed anchovy fillets (about 26)
24 cloves garlic
1 egg
½ medium onion, rough chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1¼ cups olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

To make the dressing: Place anchovies, garlic, egg, onion, cheese, vinegar and 1 tablespoon pepper in a food processor, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Use half in this recipe. The rest you can keep for about three weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 3 cups.

Wine Recommendation:

Dan Davis, known as the “wine guys” at Commander’s Palace, suggests that for these assertive flavors, a fruit-forward red with soft tannins works best. Try a 2008 Anne Amie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon or a 2007 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes-du-Rhône, a Grenache-based red from the southern Rhône Valley. A white for this dish needs complexity and some residual sugar. Try an Alsatian Pinot Gris, which is usually a bit sweet, from a good producer such as the 2002 Pierre Sparr Grand Cru “Mambourg” Tokay Pinot Gris.

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