If you're having brunch at the Wynn's The Country Club restaurant this Sunday and you hear a cry erupt from the kitchen, don't worry. That's just Carlos.
The Country Club Executive Chef Carlos Guia is a former New Orleans-resident and a devoted Saints fan who moved to Las Vegas after spending seven years in the Big Easy cooking at Palace Café, The Red Room and Commander's Palace. New Orleans doesn't just have a place in the chef's heart; it's got a spot in his kitchen.
Guia credits spending time in the kitchen with his New Orleans-born-and-raised mom for sending him in the direction of a culinary career.
"Her gumbo," he remembers. "Her gumbo had chicken leg and thigh, and crab, shrimp, okra. It was a very full rich gumbo with lots of proteins and sausage, andouille."
Guia's no slouch with the gumbo either.
"Seafood gumbo, smoked duck and wild mushroom gumbo, green gumbo... At the restaurant here we do andouille-and-shrimp gumbo, which a real rich, dark roux and we finish with okra and file. There's so many ways you can go; it's almost like going to your Italian grandmother and asking her what's the best tomato sauce?"
So, grandma, what should we make for our Super Bowl party?
Guia will be crafting dueling menus of New Orleans- and Indianapolis-inspired cuisine — fried shrimp po' boys, crawfish bread, shrimp rémoulade and of course, gumbo on the Saints side and corn dogs, sliders and BBQ pork sandwiches for Indy — for a private party at the restaurant, but for our Super Bowl potluck he suggested going all Saints. Crack an Abita Amber and tackle a few of his recipes packed with flavor straight from the Big Easy.
2 cups chopped onion (approx. 1 large)
1.5 cups chopped green pepper (approx. 2)
1 cup chopped celery (approx. 2 ribs)
1/4 cup minced garlic (1 head)
2 cups okra, fresh sliced
2.5 tbsp New Orleans-style seafood seasoning
4 bay leaves
10 cups crab stock with shrimp heads (2.5 qt.)
1.5 lbs shrimp (weighed with head on before peeling, save peel and heads for stock)
3 dozen fresh oysters with liquid
1 lb gumbo crab (save 0.5 lb for stock)
1 tbsp gumbo file
1 tbsp salt
1.5 tsp pepper
3/4 cup high smoking point oil
3/4 cup flour
1 bunch green onions
1/2 lb uncooked rice
In a heavy saucepot, heat oil to smoking point. Add flour slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon. Stir roux constantly until dark brown but not burned. The roux requires constant stirring and attention.
When roux is dark brown add pepper and onion, peppers, celery and garlic. Stir and cook until onions are clear. Add bay leaves and seafood seasoning. Add crab stock and whisk slowly into roux to avoid lumps. Cook for 20 minutes.
Add shrimp to stock and cook two minutes. Add okra and stir with wooden spoon. Stir in gumbo file. Add oysters and bring to a boil. Add crabmeat and cook. When fully cooked, check seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh cooked rice and sliced green onions.
Creole Boiled Shrimp
2 ea. lemons, split
1 gallon water
1 cup Creole seasoning
3 bay leaves
1 ea. garlic head, slit across the cloves
1 tbsp Zatarain's shrimp and crab boil liquid
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 lbs Gulf white shrimp, medium, peeled and de-veined
In a large stockpot, bring all of the ingredients except the shrimp to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Water should be very spicy and salty.
Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes until shrimp is cooked. Do not overcook or shrimp will become tough. Timing will depend on size of shrimp. Drain all but half a gallon of the boil water and add 4 cups of ice. Let soak for 5 minutes. Drain and lay shrimp on a cooking sheet and refrigerate until fully chilled.
To serve, toss boiled shrimp with a generous amount of rémoulade sauce and serve over finely shredded romaine lettuce with julienned carrots and beets tossed in a light vinagrette. Serve in a martini glass or stacked in a ring mold.
Makes 4 cups
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
4 tbsp Creole mustard
2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tbsp Louisiana style hot sauce (medium heat)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
5 tbsp ketchup
1 ea. lemon, juiced
4 ea. green onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except the vegetable oil in a blender starting with the eggs, mustards, sauces, and spices adding the vegetables last. Puree on high speed until smooth. While blending, add oil slowly in a stead stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Adjust seasonings and refrigerate. Sauce will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.