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Galatoire's: 100 Years of an Eating Institution

New Orleans is a city obsessed with food, and this year, one of its landmark eateries is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Located in the city's French Quarter, Galatoire's restaurant has been serving specialties like Trout Marguery, Crabmeat Ravigote and Oysters en Brochette for a century. The recipes came from France with founder Jean Galatoire, who bought an existing restaurant on the site of his namesake bistro in 1905. He soon sent for his three nephews from southern France. Their grandchildren now run the place.

The line for a lunch table starts early in the morning. Many line up not just for a good seat, but to ensure they are served by their regular waiter -- it's common for the same waiter to have served a family for generations. Over the decades, celebrities who have joined the queue include Tennessee Williams, Harpo Marx and Mick Jagger -- and even a few U.S. presidents.

To commemorate Galatoire's centennial, two of the restaurant's regulars, Kenneth Holditch and Marda Burton, have written a book, Galatoire's: Biography of a Bistro. They join NPR's Debbie Elliott for a Friday lunch dining experience, and share recipes from the storied restaurant below:


1 stalk of celery

1 bunch of green onions

1/2 bunch of parsley

1/2 pound of spinach

1/4 pound of butter

3 tablespoons of Lea and Perrin

3 tablespoons of vinegar

1 teaspoon anise

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon bay leaf, ground

1/2 cup of ketchup

1/3 ounce of Herbsaint

2 dashes of Tabasco

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups of ground bread crumbs

2 dozen oysters, poached

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, chop all vegetables very fine. Remove to a ceramic or glass bowl and add melted butter, Lea and Perrin, and vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Add anise, thyme, bay leaf, ketchup, Herbsaint, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add bread crumbs and mix well.

Place each poached oyster on a shell and cover each shell with a spoonful of the Rockefeller sauce. Broil oysters until brown and serve hot.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.


Vegetable oil

2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup frozen petits pois (small green peas)

5 tablespoons butter

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 portobello mushroom

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

4 cups mixed lettuces

Heat about 1 inch oil in a deep heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When oil reaches about 350 degrees, add potatoes and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add peas and cook for one minute. Drain, refresh under cold water, and set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and half the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque, about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate.

Remove and discard mushroom stem, then thinly slice cap. Cut slices in half or in thirds (depending upon size of mushroom). Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, turning once or twice, until golden, about 2 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add potatoes, peas, and shrimp to skillet. Mix well, then add parsley and remaining garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Arrange lettuces on 4 plates, top with shrimp mixture, and serve.

Serves 4.


2 pounds fresh backfin lump crabmeat

6 fresh artichoke bottoms, boiled and sliced

1 pound fresh portabella mushrooms, sliced

½ cup clarified butter

Salt and white pepper to taste

In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, then add the artichoke bottoms and crabmeat. Saute gently until heated thoroughly. Season with salt and white pepper. Garnish with finely chopped parsley. Serve over toast points and with a lemon wedge.

Serves 6.

Recipes excerpted from Galatoire's: Biography of a Bistro by Marda Burton & Kenneth Holditch. Used by permission of Hill Street Press.

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NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott can be heard telling stories from her native South. She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region's rich culture and history.