Last week I had to make a trip to South Louisiana to check on product we were buying and to find out the latest on British Petroleum's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
I can always count on Greg Nick when I call and say I need help and today was a day that I would be spending 20 or so hours on the road alone, traveling the Louisiana coast. He immediately volunteered to help and when passing through Lafayette I picked him up. We always make the best out of our trips together and traveling with him is never going to be monotonous or boring and today was no exception.
We were going to see our oyster fisherman, shrimp buyers and crabbers today and knew that somewhere along the way we would find some of Louisiana's finest seafood for Greg to take back home to Peggy, Greg's wife.
On this trip we picked up a number of wonderful Louisiana delicacies and Anthony Liuzza's, Liuzza Farms, produced some of them. Our first stop was to pick up Liuzza's Creole tomato's and the famous Louisiana strawberries at a favorite produce stand along the way. Liuzza Farms are considered one of the premiere local farmers in Louisiana and located in Tickfaw, LA. Greg's favorite tomato's are the Liuzza Creole and I agree with him.
Next we went to visit a crabber friend of mine to talk to some of his friends about frogging for me this summer when the season opens. Louisiana has some of the tastiest and tenderest frogs I have eaten. I want to introduce these frog legs to some of our chefs in Texas and in turn have their customers find out what they have been missing.
While we were there, crabbers were coming in from Lake Pontchartrain with some of the prettiest crabs I had seen this month. Seeing these beauties, we could not pass picking up a couple of dozen. A crab feast was in the making and with these giants you did not need more than three crabs per person. Most of the crabs were 9 inches across from tip to tip, which I consider giant.
Greg and I both love boiled crabs and the way he cooks them is my favorite way. He is of the old school New Orleans style, boiling then soaking. He seasons the water to the taste he likes then adds the crabs, back side up. After they are cooked he allows them to soak in the liquid that they were boiled in while adding a bag of ice to the boiling pot. This change in temperature allows the crab to suck in the seasoned water, seasoning the blue crab's succulent sweet meat throughout. He is one of the best crab cooks I know and could not wait to have him throw these beauties in his boiling pot.
We had a great trip that day, seeing crabbers, oyster-men, shrimpers and farmers but the highlight of this day was not the wonderful bounty that we were able to find throughout South Louisiana, it was the quality time I got to spend with Greg, one of my oldest and most trusted friends.