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A trip down memory lane to LeFleur's restaurant.

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At Mississippi Magazine we receive many requests for recipes, but when I read this particular letter I could faintly hear "Hotty Toddy" and cowbells ringing in the distance. This letter transported me back in time to cool, crisp autumn days of football games at Memorial Stadium in Jackson and tailgating traditions at LeFleur's.

LeFleur's was the place to be for Rebels and Bulldogs alike before a football game at the stadium. It was well known for its French and New Orleans Creole cuisine, and according to The Clarion-Ledger, it was considered "one of Jackson's most unusual restaurants that ushered in haute cuisine, drawing diners as far away as the Delta."

LeFleur's was a nostalgic gathering place that changed locations through the years from downtown Jackson to "uptown" Jackson when I-55 was making its way to Madison. The crabmeat was always fresh, the waitresses snappy, and the ambiance comfortable yet lively.

I remember watching Harrison Welch shuck oysters at LeFleur's--truly an art in motion. And I, too, have often craved the Trout Meuniere and the Crabmeat Imperial, or even the tender Spoon Bread and West Indies Salad from LeFleur's.

Wanda Wilkinson Reagan, the daughter of the original owner George Wilkinson Sr., is a friend of mine, and the Wilkinson family gladly shared their restaurant memorabilia and coveted recipes. One notable piece was the guest book from the restaurant, which touted celebrity names such as Elvis Presley, the Colonel, Bob Hope, Cher, Greg Alman, Jerry Clower, and Roy Rodgers. Trigger also signed the guest book, but no one can recall with a straight face if the horse was actually there for dinner.

If you never had the experience of dining at LeFleur's after yelling your heart out at Memorial Stadium, try one of these treasured recipes. They'll make your taste buds ring like a cowbell!

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LeFleur's MENU
LEFLEUR'S CEABMEAT
WEST INDIES COCKTAIL ... $4.95

1 pound lump crabmeat
1 medium purple onion, chopped
3-4 ounces cider vinegar
4 ounces vegetable oil
4 ounces ice water
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients gently and marinate
for 12 hours. Serve with crackers or on
lettuce leaves.

Yield: 4 servings.

CRABMEAT EN SKILLET

A LeFleur's tradition. Lump crabmeat, lightly
sauteed, then baked in a rich sauce and
served in a black skillet.... $9.95

1 pound fresh crabmeat
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons butter

SAUCE

3 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup sherry
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped

Heat an iron skillet over medium heat
and add butter. When butter begins to
bubble, add crabmeat and stir very gently
just until heated through.

To make sauce, melt butter in a 2 1/2
quart saucepan, then blend in the flour
with a whisk or wooden spoon to make a
smooth, somewhat loose paste. Stir over
moderate heat until the butter and flour
foam together for about 2 minutes without
coloring more than a buttery yellow.
Add sherry and mushrooms and stir until
all is incorporated. Add salt and pepper
to taste.

Pour sauce over crabmeat and run skillet
under a hot broiler until it just begins
to brown. Remove skillet from oven and
place on a heat-resistant dish. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2-4 servings.

POMPANO EN PAPILLOTE
A LA LEFLEUR'S

Sauteed Pompano filet baked in a "paper
bag" with shrimp, oysters, mushrooms and a
delicate wine sauce ... $8.00

FISH

6 (6-ounce) Pompano fillets
1 cup flour, for dusting
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shrimp, raw and peeled
12-15 raw oysters
3 tablespoons butter

Coat fish fillets with flour, salt and pepper.
Saute in butter until lightly browned.
Remove from skillet and keep warm.

SAUCE

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
Sherry to taste
Salt
White pepper

Melt butter and stir in flour. Stir and
cook until the mixture becomes foamy.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add
half and half and mushrooms and lower
heat to a simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Sauce
should become thick. Stir in sherry. Remove
from heat and add salt and pepper
to taste. Let cool.

PARCHMENT BAGS

Cut parchment paper into large heart
shaped pieces (about 10 inches by 14).
Butter one side of each paper heart.
Spoon a little of the sauce onto the center
of one half of each heart, top with filet,
shrimp and oysters, dividing equally and
top with more sauce. Fold the other half of
the paper over the top and seal by crimping
and folding the edges. Place bags on
a greased baking sheet and bake in a 400
degree oven for about 15 minutes or until
paper begins to brown. Serve hot and
open bags at the table.

Yield: 6 servings.


EDDY LADNIER MANAGED THE OYSTER BAR FOR 30 YEARS AND ESTIMATED THAT HE HAD OPENED MORE THAN 54 MILLION OYSTERS WHILE WORKING AT LEFLEURS

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COPYRIGHT 2007 Downhome Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Anderson, Henry, Jr.
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2007
Words:837
Previous Article:Tailgating table: win or lose, food and fellowship make the day.
Next Article:Providence Hill: a pleasure ground for a Jackson family and many fortunate visitors.


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