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New Orleans Restaurants - Brennan's



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Remembering the Brennans -
A New Orleans Reverie


"Owen Edward Brennan, the founder of Brennan's Restaurant, was born
April 5, 1910,  in New Orleans' 'Irish Channel' to Owen Patrick Brennan
and his wife, Nellie. Over a span of the next twenty-three years, Owen's
younger siblings were born in the following order: Adelaide, John, Ella,
Richard (Dick) and Dorothy (Dottie).
In September 1943, Owen purchased the business of the Old Absinthe House
on Bourbon Street. The Absinthe House had been built in 1798 and was known
to be pirate Jean Lafitte's secret hangout. As its most recent proprietor, Owen
staged lifelike mannequins of the notorious Lafitte and Andrew Jackson in what
he called the "Secret Room" - the very room in which the pact was supposedly
made in New Orleans' defense against the British at the Battle of New Orleans.
Owen became one of the city's best known hosts at his colorful Old Absinthe
House, "the oldest saloon in America." Pianist Fats Pichon added to its charm
with his talented renditions from Bach to boogie.
In July 1946, Owen Edward Brennan leased the Vieux Carré Restaurant directly across the street from the Old Absinthe House. He named his new restaurant for himself, Owen Brennan's French & Creole Restaurant; and with time, it came
to be more commonly known as Owen Brennan's Vieux Carré.
Owen Edward Brennan and his Vieux Carré restaurant attained nationwide fame
on an "Irish smile and a kiss of the Blarney Stone." Owen built his restaurant into
a famous institution overnight, competing with New Orleans' oldest and best in
French and Creole cuisine. Owen's research and knowledge of French food, fine
wine and impeccable service made him a master. He was called the "wonder man"
of the New Orleans restaurant industry. Owen's Irish stubbornness compelled him
to work extremely long and hard hours to put Brennan's on the culinary map -
locally and nationwide.
In 1954, Owen leased the building and began renovating and redecorating the
Patio Royal at 417 Royal Street to convert it into the new Brennan's Restaurant.
On November 1, 1955, Owen invited Brennan's initial customers to join him at
his officially opened bar located in the building carriageway. The opening of
the restaurant was scheduled for the spring of 1956, but the hand of fate dealt a devastating blow. At the age of forty-five, Owen Edward Brennan had died of a massive coronary in his sleep on a fateful Friday, November 4, 1955. Although
shock and grief overwhelmed his family and the friends who loved him so dearly, Brennan's Restaurant still opened in its new Royal Street location on schedule.

Owen's three sons, Pip, Jimmy and Ted, remain the sole owners and operators of their father's world-famous restaurant on Royal Street."
(Excerpts from The History of Brennan's Restaurant)

But enough talk...on to the recipes! 

Brennan's New Orleans Cookbook:
With the Story of the Fabulous
New Orleans Restaurant
Hermann B. Deutsch, Deirdre Stanforth, 1961,
Robert L. Crager & Company.
The latest edition was published in 1982 by
Pelican Publishing Co., Inc.)


Eggs Hussarde

2 tablespoons butter
8 slices Canadian bacon (or ham)
8 Holland rusks
2 cups Marchand de Vin sauce (recipe follows)
8 poached eggs (recipe follows)
2 cups Hollandaise sauce (recipe follows)

Melt butter in a large sauté pan and warm the Canadian bacon over low
heat. Place 2 Holland rusks on each plate and cover with slices of warm
Canadian bacon. Spoon Marchand de Vin sauce over the meat, then set a poached egg on each slice. Ladle Hollandaise sauce over the eggs; serve.

Marchand de Vin Sauce
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup boiled ham, finely chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and sauté the onion,
garlic, scallions and ham for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, reduce the
heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Blend in the flour and cook, stir-
ring for 4 minutes, then add the Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, wine,
thyme and bay leaf. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.
Before serving, remove the bay leaf and add the parsley. Season with
salt and pepper to taste. Yields three cups

Hollandaise Sauce
1 pound butter
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons water

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, skim and discard the milk solids
from the top of the butter. Hold the clarified butter over very low heat
while preparing egg yolks.
Place the egg yolks, vinegar, cayenne and salt in a large stainless steel
bowl and whisk briefly. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven large enough to
accommodate the bowl with about 1 inch of water.
Heat the water to just below the boiling point. Set the bowl in the pan
over the water; do not let water touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk
the egg yolk mixture until slightly thickened, then drizzle the clarified
butter into the yolks, whisking constantly. If the bottom of the bowl
becomes hotter than warm to the touch, remove the bowl from the
pan of water for a few seconds and let cool. When all of the butter
is incorporated and the sauce is thick, beat in the water.
Serve the Hollandaise immediately or keep in a warm place at room temperature until use. Yields 2 cups.

Poached Eggs

1 1/2 quarts water
2 cups vinegar
8 large eggs

Bring the water and vinegar to a boil in a large saucepan. Crack the eggs
one at a time and drop them gently into the boiling water, being careful
not to break the yolks.
Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, moving the eggs several times with a spoon
to cook them evenly.
When firm, remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and
place in a pan filled with cold water until serving. 
4 servings


Canapé Lorenzo

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup fish stock
3 tablespoons white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 cup lump crab meat
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 buttered toast circles, 4 inches in diameter
4 anchovy fillets
4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons buttered bread crumbs
1 teaspoon melted butter

Over medium heat in a skillet, melt butter and sauté onions until tender.
Blend in the flour thoroughly. Cook slowly about 5 minutes, stirring
constantly, do not brown. Remove skillet from heat. Blend in fish stock,
wine, salt and pepper until smooth. Blend in egg yolk thoroughly. Return
pan to heat and gently cook over low heat stirring constantly, about 15
minutes. Stir in crab meat and parsley, mix well. Mound this mixture high
on toast circles and crisscross with the anchovies. Mix paprika and bread
crumbs together and cover the surface of canapé. Drizzle with butter and
place in preheated oven at 350 degrees F. (moderate oven) for about 15
minutes. 2 servings.


Oysters Roffignac

3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup finely chopped cooked mushrooms
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped boiled shrimp
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash cayenne
1 cup oyster water
1/2 cup red wine
2 dozen oysters

Fill four pie pans with rock salt and place in hot oven to preheat salt. While
salt is warming make sauce. In a 9-inch skillet melt butter and lightly sauté
the mushrooms, shallots, onion, shrimp and garlic. When onion is golden
brown, add flour, salt, pepper and cayenne. Brown well, about 7 to 10
minutes. Blend in the oyster water and wine and simmer over low heat
for 15 to 20 minutes.
Place 6 half shells on each pie pan and place an oyster in each. Put the
stuffing in pastry bag and cover each oyster. Bake in a preheated oven
400 degrees F. (moderately hot) for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of
oysters begin to curl. 4 servings.


Stuffed Flounder

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup fish stock
3 tablespoons white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/3 cup crab meat
1/2 cup boiled shrimp, peeled and veined
1/2 dozen oysters, lightly blanched
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
6 tablespoons paprika
5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 flounders (1 1/2 pounds each)

Over medium heat in 9-inch skillet, melt butter and sauté onions until
tender. Blend in the flour thoroughly. Cook slowly about 5 minutes stirring constantly; do not brown. Remove skillet from heat. Blend in fish stock,
wine, salt and pepper, until smooth. Blend in egg yolk thoroughly. Return
pan to heat and gently cook over low heat, stirring constantly, about 15
minutes. Add crab meat, shrimp, oysters and parsley and mix thoroughly,
heat through and remove from heat.
How to prepare flounder: Cut head from fish, with fish lying flat, dark side
up, make a slit from head to tail with boning knife, going through flesh to
bone. Now with tail section of fish toward you, take a boning knife and
work from center slit to fins loosening the flesh from the bone. Turn fish
so that tail is now away from you and insert blade of knife under backbone. Work from center to side in a slicing motion to loosen back of fish from
bone. With a scissors, cut bone loose from fins. Now lift backbone and
break away from fish near tail. Your flounder is ready for the stuffing
prepared above.
Fill with stuffing and sprinkle with a mixture of 6 tablespoons paprika, 5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons bread crumbs. Close fish.
In a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet sear flounders in 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Place skillet with flounders into 400-degree F. oven about 20 minutes, or
until done. Serve with lemon slices and parsley. 2 servings.


Roulade of Veal

1/2 cup butter
1 cup minced onion or shallots
1/2 cup minced celery
1 1/2 dozen oysters, chopped
2 cups bread cubes, dampened
with oyster water

1 egg, beaten
Pinch thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
4 veal cutlets
1 dill pickle, quartered
3 cups tomato sauce (recipe follows)

Melt butter in skillet and sauté onion and celery until tender. Add oysters
and stir while cooking 5 minutes more. Add bread cubes and heat through.
Remove from heat and mix thoroughly with egg, thyme, salt and pepper.
Add parsley.
With edge of heavy saucer, pound the cutlets thin. Fill center with oyster
dressing and 1/4 dill pickle and roll. Secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with
salt and pepper and roll in flour. Place roulades in pan and bake in pre-
heated 400-degree F. oven 14 to 20 minutes, or until brown. Remove
from oven. Cover with tomato sauce and simmer 20 minutes, or until
done. 4 servings.

Tomato Sauce
1 stalk celery
1 large onion, coarsely sliced
4 carrots. coarsely sliced
2 or 3 pods garlic
3 tablespoons lard [or oil of your choice]
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons flour
2 cans tomatoes [28 ounces each]
1 pint [2 cups] beef stock

Sauté carrots, onions, celery and garlic in lard [or oil]. Add paprika, and mix flour in well. Add tomatoes and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer 20 to 25 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve. Reheat for 5 minutes.


Crepes Fitzgerald

3/4 cup sifted flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 eggs
Milk [start with 3/4 cup]

Mix eggs with flour, sugar and salt. Add milk until batter is consistency of condensed milk. [The batter should just lightly coat a spoon.] Beat until smooth.
Heat a 6-inch skillet oiled with pastry brush dipped in vegetable oil. Pour
batter (2 tablespoons) into pan, tilting quickly to distribute batter evenly.
Cook 1 minutes or so, until brown, then turn and brown other side. Oil
pan with brush and repeat. Keep warm in a towel.

2 heaping teaspoons Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup strawberries
Strawberry liqueur

Roll cream cheese and sour cream in crepes and put on plate.
In a chafing dish, cook strawberries in sugar and butter. Flame in
strawberry liqueur and Kirsch and pour over crepes. 1 serving.


Crepes Suzette

Make crepes as in Crepes Fitzgerald, above.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
Peel of 3 oranges, thinly slivered
Peel of 1 lemon, thinly slivered
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
2 ounces brandy

In a flat heated chafing dish, melt butter. Add sugar, mix well. Add peels
and juice of lemons and oranges. Simmer until transparent. Place 3 cakes
[crepes] at a time in this sauce and fold in halves and quarters. Repeat until
12 cakes [crepes] are in chafing dish. Pour the Cointreau, the Grand Marnier
and then the brandy evenly over the cakes [crepes]. Tip the chafing dish
slightly so that the flame will ignite the brandy. Level the pan and move in
a light forward and backward motion until flame on cakes [crepes] dies
down. Serve 3 cakes [crepes] per person, spooning some of the remain-
ing sauce over the cakes [crepes]. 4 servings.


Bananas Foster

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise,
then halved
1/4 cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place
the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove,
and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then
place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin
to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum
is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside,
lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of
ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream
and serve immediately. 4 servings.

More New Orleans Restaurant Recipes:
Caribbean Room
Commander's Palace
Corinne Dunbar's
Mr. B's Bistro

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