“Treme” Explained, Episode 7: “Smoke My Peace Pipe”

Eek! This post is very late. Thanks to the “Lost” finale we didn’t get a chance to watch “Treme” last Sunday, and thanks to various cocktailing events we didn’t even see it until Wednesday (and Thursday was busy). Without further ado … the annotated Dave Walker’s “‘Treme’ Explained’ column for last Sunday’s presentation, episode 7. Here are a few excerpts to get you going, with a few of my additions and annotations:

Smoke My Peace Pipe

The episode title is “Smoke My Peace Pipe,” a song that appeared on a self-titled 1974 LP by The Wild Magnolias. Full title: “Smoke My Peace Pipe (Smoke it Right).” [listen]

The wonders of Trout Baquet are known to thousands via the dish’s availability on the grounds of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell. In a video on this page, Lil’ Dizzy’s proprietor and New Orleans culinary royalty Wayne Baquet talks the late Chappy Hardy through the recipe.

Here’s that recipe, from the man himself (i.e., Wayne Baquet).

TROUT BAQUET

“Okay … You take … um, you chop some garlic and onion, and you get some lemon, and some lump white crabmeat, and some butter or margarine, depending on how healthy you want this thing to be.* You take a skillet, a small skillet, and you do this to order, you know. You put a little bit of your butter in there, say, a teaspoon of garlic, a nice handful of onion, and you sauté that, until they’re tender. They don’t need to be clear, just ’til they start getting tender. Sprinkle a little lemon in. Add a little bit more butter, so now you have a butter sauce. Take a pound of lump white crabmeat, and toss it in — don’t break it up, toss it in. All right. That’s your sauce.

“Take your skillet. Put just a little bit of vegetable oil in it. Take your two filets of trout — one trout cut in two nice filets, about 4 ounces each. Salt and pepper. Put it in your skillet. No breading. Put lemon on top of it, and grill it in the frying pan. You can use a Teflon frying pan that works real well, or you can have a treated pan … you have a seasoned iron pan and it won’t stick. Now you put it on the side that you fileted down, ’cause the part that’s not going to break up. You gonna cook 90% of it on that side, you know that. You’re gonna flip it for a second, just to get it, flip it for just a second, then you flip it back. Because the fish is going to cook through, you know how fish cooks. Then you take those two nice filets, plate ‘em up, take that sauce, put it over the top of it … unbelievable.

“Unbelievable. You’ll love it.”

Boy, is he right. This is one of the simplest, and one of the best, New Orleans dishes ever.

* – By the way, don’t use margarine. Use butter. It’s healthier and tastier. (Seriously, butterfat is not nearly as bad for you as the hydrogenated trans-fat in margarine.)

Janette Desautel meets with chef John Besh in his flagship Restaurant August. Besh stars in “Inedible to Incredible,” a TLC cable network series scheduled to debut June 14. He’s also been prepping a cooking show to air nationally on PBS in 2011. His other restaurants included Luke, Best Steak, La Provence, Domenica and The American Sector in the National World War II Museum. Besh sent the visiting celebrity chefs to Desautel’s in episode five.

Here’s Chef Besh talking about his fantastic new cookbook (and makes a pot of quick gumbo), and about his five restaurants:


 

Janette and Davis set up her mobile rig at Bacchanal, a wine and spirits shop, live-music venue and deli at 600 Poland Ave. in the Bywater. Its patio and backyard were a setting for post-Katrina feasts prepared by restaurantless or moonlighting chefs. The tradition continues.

I love Bacchanal. It’s on Poland and Chartres, 3 blocks down and 1 block over from my grandparents’ old house and corner grocery, so I really feel at home in that neighborhood. I wish I could get there more often, and if I lived back home I’d be there all the time. Reading about the dinners that Chef Pete of the late, lamented Marisol used to make there, and not being able to be there, nearly drove me insane.

Bacchanal Wine and Spirits, in the Bywater, New Orleans

Bacchanal Wine and Spirits, in the Bywater, New Orleans

The patio at Bacchanal

The patio at Bacchanal

For more about Bacchanal Sundays (featuring live music, guest chefs and a great time for the whole family), the food and music featured in the show, the occupations of the housing projects, the longstanding tensions between the Mardi Gras Indians and the NOPD, the morgue situation post-K and much more, make sure you read the whole column.

I should have the next “Treme” post up on Monday. That will mean only two episodes to go this season. It’ll be ending soon, and no more ’til next year!

:-(