Learning to Cook in the Crescent City

Crescent City CooksWith three chefs and three assistants, classes are relaxed and enjoyable. “We are more fun than formal. You will learn so much without being too stuffy,” Nita says, adding, “We are New Orleans, after all, and we let the good times roll every day!”

Crescent City Cooks is open seven days a week save for Mardi Gras, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. In addition to the demonstration and hands-on classes, the chefs offer team-building workshops, which involve competition-style, hands-on classes, as well as kid’s cooking camps. If you don’t have time to take a class, Crescent City Cooks has a cozy kitchen shop filled with spices, kitchen gadgets, and locally made artisan crafts worth checking out.

Crawfish or Shrimp Etouffée
Recipe Courtesy of Nita Duhe of Crescent City Cooks Serves 8
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 bell peppers (2 green, 1 red)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, see note
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4-5 cups of shrimp stock/water
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 4 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun/Creole Seasoning (plus some to taste)
  • 1 pound crawfish tails or 6-8 peeled shrimp per person
  • Salt to taste
  1. Roux:
  2. Melt butter over medium-low heat, add flour. Constantly stir your roux until it is a peanut butter color. Add finely chopped or pureed onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux. Add 3 pinches of salt and Cajun/Creoleseasoning. Put heat up to medium or medium-high and let it stick to the bottom of the pot. Scrape up whatever sticks to the bottom, this is flavor. You should see brown bits in your mixture. Cook until the mixture is glossy and moves together, looks like a dough ball moving as you stir. You’ll also see the butter backing out of the mixture.
  3. Note: If you are doing the Creole version, add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook down the tomatoes until the mix starts sticking again, continue to scrape the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce and stock/water. Simmer on low, uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. If your broth gets too thick, add more stock/water. After 20-30 minutes, add parsley, green onion, and the crawfish or shrimp. Cook until crawfish are heated or shrimp is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve over rice.