Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cookbook Thursday: Savor the South cookbooks

            The University of North Carolina Press has instituted a new series of Southern foodway books called “Savor the South” cookbooks. These small but highly informative titles have included subjects such as pecans, bourbon, okra and tomatoes.
            The newest titles to emerge are “Gumbo” by Dale Curry, a New Orleans food writer and cookbook author, and “Shrimp” by Jay Pierce, a chef and food writer of North Carolina who grew up on the Louisiana coast.
            In addition to explanations of the subject, each book offers dozens of recipes. If you love shrimp, you’ll not want to miss Pierce’s homage to the Gulf creature and its many ways to cook it. Curry’s book includes her own variety of gumbos, from a roux-less bowl to a “Super Gumbo” that throws everything into the pot, as well as those of celebrity chefs such as Leah Chase, Emeril Lagasse and Donald Link. However, she veers off into other dishes such as jambalaya, calas, corn maque choux and shrimp and grits and I would have preferred more takes on the Louisiana standard.
            Pierce is executive chef at Rocksalt in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has written for CNN's Eatocracy blog, Edible Piedmont, Savor NC and Beer Connoisseur. Curry served as the food editor for 20 years of The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans and is the author of "New Orleans Home Cooking."
            It’s a wonderful series and a great addition to any cook’s collection, especially those wondering about the history of these unique Louisiana foodways.

Shrimp Ceviche
From "Shrimp" by Jay Pierce
1 pound large shrimp (21/25), peeled
1/4 cup seeded, small-diced Roma tomatoes
4 teaspoons seeded, minced jalapenos
1 cup lime juice
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
2 tablespoons packed cilantro
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Plantain crisps or tortilla chips
Hot sauce (preferably Valentinac or Bufalo)
      Directions: Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise. Place in a bowl and cover with water. Swish around well, then remove the shrimp from the water. Combine the shrimp with the remaining ingredients in a shallow pan or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and press it down onto the surface of the ceviche. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, stirring halfway through and replacing the plastic wrap. To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer the ceviche to a serving dish. Serve with plantain crisps or tortilla chips and a bottle of hot sauce. Some folks like to serve the juice separately as shots of "Leche de Tigre."

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at