Walk down the street in the Garden District, the French Quarter, the Warehouse District, or Uptown New Orleans and do what I do. Stop to read the menus hanging outside the front door.
They are full of romantic phrases (if you are a foodie, that is). Like the Eggs Fulton at 7 on Fulton, made with poached eggs, crab cakes and fried green tomatoes. Or the Louisiana Soft Shell Crab at Red Fish Grill featuring jumbo soft shell crab, deep fried, served on top of creamy corn maque choux with tomato tartar, tossed arugula, mirliton and Gulf shrimp. Or the Eggplant Pirogue with Seafood Atchafalaya—Eggplant Pirogue Seasoned, Battered, Deep-Fried and Filled with Fresh Louisiana Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Crawfish and Sun-Dried Tomatoes in a Garlic, Parsley, Seafood Stock and Butter Emulsion at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen.
Amidst all of those regional delicacies, though, one stands out. The Crab-Stuffed Artichoke. There is just something about this recipe that say, “Take something that no one really knows how to cook and make it grand.” Word on the street is that artichokes are harder to find locally in New Orleans these days, but they still evoke the spirit, and the flavor, of New Orleans. And, if you hit the seasons just right (spring and fall), you’ll find them at the Crescent City Farmers’ Market.
Some of New Orleans’ most revered Bourbon Street restaurants, such as Galatorie’s keep them on the menu. Franky and Johnny’s, the Zagat-rated neighborhood place uptown is known for them. The Palace Café serves them with blue crabmeat dressing, smoke oyster Hollandaise and fried crawfish. Houston’s lists them as “wood-grilled” in a signature dish. And that’s just a sampling. For more, just peruse the streets of New Orleans.
I’m sure a menu description will call out to you.
In homage to all of the restaurants, the chefs at The Food Channel have prepared a Crab-Stuffed Artichoke recipe that you can try at home.