Questions about cajun & creol cooking...

Joined Jan 29, 2010
So, I just picked up "The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine" by John D Folse from the goodwill, and am excited to try some if the recipes in it... but I have a few questions about ingredients and am hoping some of you can help me out here :)

So, to start with, theres several recipes for "red fish"... what exactly is he talking about here? Red snapper? What fish can sub for them?? (I'm not sure I've ever seen red snapper at the store, though I'll admit that I don't really buy much fish... mostly just alaskan salmon. My dad/grandpa go fishing up on lake erie & up in canada and bring back lots of northern pike & walleye, which are our primary sources of fish...)

Also, in his oyster recipes he either calls for them by the quart (drained) or simply by the dozen. I assume the ones that are by quart are canned? But don't oysters come in a shell when you buy them fresh?? In which case, whats the basic method for getting them out of the shell? (Or, am I thinking of mussels... once again, I just haven't cooked much seafood beyond salmon/walleye/n. pike/shrimp...).

Lots of thanks in advance!! :)
Joined Sep 2, 2010
The "red fish" that John Folse is referring to is also more properly known as red drum.  Pretty much any kind of white-fleshed fish could be substituted.  Catfish and trout would be the preferred substitution.

I don't know how oysters are sold in other parts of the country, but in Louisiana most stores carry them fresh in plastic containers.  They are packed in their own juice and sold in containers from pints all the way to gallons.  If you buy them fresh, they must be shucked.  Its not difficult to learn, however, it takes a lot of practice to shuck oysters at a fast rate.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
You've got a wonderful new world opening up, Mama. Both creole and cajun cookery is special, and not like anything else you're familiar with.

Frankly, given that you are inexperienced with seafood, I'd start with some of his other recipes. First thing you want to develop is a feel for the flavors of creole and cajun cooking, and basic techniques.

Also keep in mind that both cuisines, but especially cajun, can be unexpectedly spicy. So, unless you're into hot foods, tread lightly until you see where the seasonings take you.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Snapper, sea trout, mackerel, tilapia maybe, possibly salmon but salmon's so distinctive.  Quality (which is 99% freshness) trumps variety.

A quart of shucked oysters is around 3 or 4 dozen.  A quart of oysters in the shell is about 1 dozen.  Think of a serving as 6 oysters.  You'll have to worm the choice from the context. 

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Joined Jan 29, 2010
Very cool, thanks for the tips:) I was kinda hesitant to buy it, but am *SO* glad I did!! My copy is an old one from like 83', spiral bound... which is apparently quite rare :) And, we're huge fans of spicy food.. my mom's family is all from new mexico so I grew up eating green/red chili/tacos/posole/etc :) I think I'm going to start off with some of his venison recipes as I still have a bit in the freezer from last year. My DH loves jambalaya though, so thats high on the priority list to attempt :) :) :)
Joined Aug 11, 2000
if his biegnet recipe is in the book it's wonderful!  

John Folse's restaurants were some of our very favorites to have Sunday Jazz Brunch...

The coconut cream pie, rich chocolate intercontinental torte, fried green tomatoes were all extrodinary. 
Joined Mar 9, 2010
Sole, the delicate white-fleshed fish is the queen of the water in the Gulf of Mexico. A traditional dish in "The City that Care Forgot" This sea fare is well chaperoned by bourbon, pecans

and a little ginger lime sauce

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