Map Depicting Plantations on the Mississippi River from Natchez to New Orleans, 1858
Map Depicting Plantations on
the Mississippi River from
Natchez to New Orleans, 1858
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The Delta Queen, a Steamboat, Makes its Way up the Mississippi River
The Delta Queen, a Steamboat, Makes its Way up the
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Block, Ira
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Nuts, Pecan, Walnut, Hazel and Almond
Nuts, Pecan, Walnut, Hazel
and Almond

Wally Eberhart
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Close View of Shelled Pecans in Warm Light
Close View of Shelled Pecans in Warm Light
Brian Gordon...
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La Belle Cuisine


Fishing for an entrée?
Pecans complement main dishes as well as desserts.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune,
January 9, 2003
Marcelle Bienvenu, Contributing Writer

Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic,
and Can You Make a Roux?

"It's either feast or famine when it comes to pecans at my house. No longer do I
have pecan trees, thanks to Hurricane Andrew 10 years ago. Since then I've
had to rely on the generosity of others to keep my larder filled with what my
friend, the late Keith Courrege, called the Crown Prince of the Nut Kingdom.
Yes, I know there are pecans at the supermarket, but I'd rather wait for them
o come as gifts.
And this year I wasn't disappointed. First came a big bag of large pecan
halves from one of my husband Rock's business associates. I set those aside
in the freezer for using in pies, pralines and nougats. The day before Christmas
the FedEx man delivered a large box of pecans. The gaily wrapped container
held assorted pecans. Some were salted and roasted, some were candied, and
there were some dipped in chocolate. I have been munching on them ever since.
Pecans have long been associated with the South. History tells us that Antoine,
a slave gardener at Oak Alley Plantation along the River Road, succeeded in grafting 16 trees near the plantation mansion in 1846 or 1847. Later he
successfully grafted 110 trees. The variety was named Centennial. This was an
epoch in the history of pecan growing since it was the first recorded successful
effort to graft pecan trees, and it was the first commercial orchard developed to produce nuts for sale.
You'll find pecan orchards in north Louisiana, especially around Natchitoches. Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and Texas have acres and acres of pecan orchards
as well.
If you are fortunate enough to receive shelled nuts, I suggest you store them in
an airtight container in the freezer where they will keep for as long as a year.
Although most pecans are destined for pies, candies, cakes and other sweet
delights, I like them simply roasted with salt and butter, or coated with orange-flavored syrup. And you might like to try coating fish or chicken with ground
pecans to give them a delightful crunch.
The pecan meal used in this recipe can be purchased at some supermarkets, but
you can make your own by grinding them in a blender or food processor."

Keith Courrege's
Baked Pecan Chicken

Makes about 8 servings

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecan meal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
Cayenne pepper to taste
2 broiler-fryer chickens, cut into serving pieces
1 1/2 sticks [3/4 cup] butter
3/4 cup pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a shallow bowl. Combine the flour, pecan meal, Parmesan cheese, paprika,
salt and cayenne in another bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in the milk-egg
mixture, then into the flour-pecan mixture.
Heat the butter in a large baking dish. Place the chicken pieces in the
dish, turning to coat evenly with the butter, ending with the skin side
up. Sprinkle with the pecan halves. Bake until the chicken is well
browned, about 1 1/2 hours.


Trout with Pecan Sauce
Makes 4 servings

4 speckled trout fillets (or other
white firm-fleshed fish),
6 to 8 ounces each
Salt and cayenne to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 stick [6 tablespoons] butter
2 cups roasted pecans (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Season the fish with salt and cayenne. Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Combine the eggs and milk in another shallow bowl. Dredge the fish
first in the flour, then in the egg and milk mixture, then again in the
flour, coating evenly.
Heat half stick of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fish
and cook until golden, about three minutes on each side. Keep warm.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of the pecans with the lemon juice, the Worces-
tershire sauce and the pan drippings plus the remaining one-fourth cup
of the butter in a blender or food processor, and pulse several times to
blend well. Spread the pecan puree over the fish. Run under the broiler
just until hot.
Sprinkle with the remaining pecans and serve immediately.


Roasted Pecans
Makes 4 cups

4 cups large pecan halves
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon salt

Spread the pecans in a heavy baking pan and bake for 30 minutes at
325 degrees F. Add the butter and stir well to coat all the pecans evenly.
Bake 15 minutes more, then sprinkle with the salt and stir well. Bake
15 to 20 minutes more, then remove from the oven. Stir well and cool.
Store in airtight jars or containers.


Makes 3 to 4 dozen (depending on size)

"These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are a year-round favorite at my
house. They'll keep in an airtight container for about one week."

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Confectioners' sugar for dredging

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and the granulated
sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, vanilla and pecans and
mix well. Dough will be very stiff. Shape into small balls or crescents
and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes.
The cookies will not brown. Remove from the oven and cool
slightly. Roll each cookie in confectioners' sugar.


Orange-Coated Pecans
Makes 2 cups

1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon grated orange peel [zest]

Put all the ingredients in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the water evaporates and the nuts have a sugary appearance. Pour the pecans onto parchment paper, separating them quickly with a
fork. Cool and stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

And one last recipe, for lagniappe, from Mr. Courrege's repertoire:

Praline Sundae Sauce

1/2 cup pure cane syrup
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes, stirring often.
Remove from the heat. Serve warm or cold over ice cream or cake.

© The Times-Picayune. Used with permission.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Bedford's Pecan Chicken
Marcelle's Crunchy Fried Chicken
Mr. B's Grilled Trout with Spiced Pecans
Mrs. Cabell's Pecans; Mrs. Wright's Cocoons
Pecan Tassies
Southern Pecan Pie
Texas State Fair Pecan Pie
Emeril's Catfish (or Trout) Pecan Meunière

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