To celebrate the month of Mardi Gras, we’ve delved into Tim Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food for some delicious brunch inspiration from the Mississippi Delta
When it comes to brunch, we seem to have lost our imagination a bit. Everything is at a bit of a poached egg and avocado standstill. There’s the odd pancake thrown in for good luck, but it’s rare to see something exciting and new. That’s perhaps why we’ve got so excited about the updated version of Tim Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food. Fitzmorris, who was born in New Orleans on Mardi Gras has championed the city’s Creole and Cajun influenced food for a while, and although the book (featuring over 250 recipes) is a trove bursting with delicious recipes from dinner to dessert, it’s the array of varied brunch options that’s left us gagging to try something new.
Shirred eggs is a good place to begin. As Fitzmorris points out in the introduction, you don’t see them often, despite being such a big crowd pleaser. He adds, “The technique is to cook the eggs with powerful heat from above after setting them on something savory.” Our other pick is Mary Ann’s Hash Brown Potatoes, simple, but with a killer tip: If you bake the potatoes beforehand and then let them cool, they’ll shred much better and make for a much better hash brown. Set the heat high and burn them as they’re on the verge of burning. Breakfast will never be the same again.
Shirred Eggs with Crabmeat Remick
6 thick slices smoky bacon
1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup bottled chili sauce
1 Tbsp. Creole mustard
1 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar
½ tsp. Tabasco
½ tsp. salt-free Creole seasoning à tsp.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Cut the bacon into squares and fry until crisp. Drain very well and set aside.
- Divide the crabmeat among 6 small, shallow gratin dishes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and bake until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Top each baking dish with an equal portion of crumbled bacon. Spoon in enough of the sauce to cover the bacon and the crab. Then carefully break 2 eggs onto each dish, keeping the yolks whole.
- Turn the oven up to broil. Put the baking dishes in the broiler and cook until the eggs have set. Serve immediately with a warning that the dish is mouth-searingly hot.
Mary Ann’s Hash Brown Potatoes
5 lb. medium white potatoes
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter
3 green onions, tender green tops only, finely sliced
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Bake the potatoes, skins on, in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. This will be a bit less than the time needed for edible baked potatoes. Cool the potatoes, then refrigerate.
- When you’re ready to cook, remove the potatoes from the refrigerator and cut in half, but leave the skins on.
- In a skillet over the highest heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until it sizzles. Using the big holes on a hand grater, grate the potatoes right into the pan, sprinkling some green onions as you go, until the pan is nearly full. Cook without turning until the bottom appears to be on the verge of burning. Turn (either the whole thing or as much as you can at a time) and cook the same way on the other side.
- Dump the pan of hash browns into a serving dish and keep it warm in the oven while you repeat the process for the rest of the potatoes. Or you can stop right there if that’s enough for the meal involved. The rest of the potatoes can be made into hash browns on another occasion.
Tom Fitzmorris’s New Orleans Food (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Tom Fitzmorris (Abrams, On Sale: 20 Feb 2018, £19.99)
Image: C. 2017 Stephanie Mullins
Words by Davey Brett