With book lovers still reeling from Chef John Folse’s wild game cookbook After the Hunt, a new book, Hooks, Lies & Alibis, has emerged. Hooks, Lies & Alibis is a tribute to Louisiana’s time-honored fish and seafood tradition and cuisine.
Folse took special care to include a variety of cooking methods to showcase Louisiana’s brimming waters. While some recipes feature traditional frying and sautéing techniques, Folse was sure to include mouth-watering recipes for roasting, grilling, boiling, poaching and steaming fish and shellfish. Just as After the Hunt presented unique recipes for preparing wild game, Hooks, Lies & Alibis offers folks new ways of preparing the fish and shellfish we all love to eat.
“I like fried bass as much as the next guy, but why not try steamed whole bass with ginger and spring onions?” Folse said. “I love fried oysters, too, but peppered oysters with cognac and cream is unbelievable. These recipes aren’t hard to make; we’ve just presented an interesting way to use the same ingredients without exerting extra effort in the kitchen.”
While the focus of the new cookbook is saltwater, freshwater and shellfish, there are also hundreds of recipes for items such as fish and shellfish stocks, Louisiana sauces such as ravigote and rémoulade, unusual batters and exceptional marinades. Of special note is the Exotics chapter including recipes for octopus, squid and eel, and the Reptiles & Amphibians chapter where recipes for frog, alligator, turtle and snake are featured. The Preservation chapter includes techniques for preparing canned tuna and smoked salmon among other recipes. Of course, there are still many pages designated for breakfast items, side dishes, desserts and beverages.
Like his other legendary books, Hooks, Lies & Alibis begins with a look to the past by co-author Michaela York. The history of fishing is told from ancient man and Biblical perspectives; there are discussions of fishing in antiquity including Egypt, Greece and Rome; fishing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance is explored; as well as the exploration and establishment of America because of the unassuming codfish. Through and because of fishing, religions have been established, fast and fish days observed, countries and empires built and New Worlds conquered.
Unique to this cookbook are 50 iconic Louisiana seafood recipes identified by Folse.
“As we studied the recipes we realized there were traditional recipes that absolutely had to be included,” Folse said. “Each of the iconic recipes chosen has a life and a story of its own. Every Louisianian has a story about the dish, when they ate it, where they ate it, who prepared it or what restaurant served it.”
“Louisiana is blessed with bountiful waters,” Folse said. “I think we forget as Louisianians that these delicacies of fresh fish, shrimp, crab, oysters, crawfish, turtles, frogs and alligators are not commonplace on the tables of most of the world. For centuries, Louisiana cooks and chefs have created culinary masterpieces with these raw ingredients. We decided it was time to preserve, once and for all in one volume, Louisiana’s signature fish and seafood dishes while also recording a few new creations.”