Chef Melissa M. Martin first opened the Mosquito Supper Club in New Orleans as a pop-up in 2014, introducing diners to authentic Cajun food and tales about the cooks, fishers, and farmers who live and work in southern Louisiana. The restaurant has since grown and thrived. Martin’s accounts of growing up in a small fishing village, her pride in her distinctive regional heritage, and her well-honed recipes are all documented in Mosquito Supper Club.
Martin’s Cajun cuisine is rooted in seasonal fish, shellfish, vegetables, meats, and rice. Recipe chapters are punctuated with fond memories of fishing and feasting with her family, as well as with information about ingredients like cane syrup and rice that are cultivated in the delta and bayous. She expresses passion for supporting local food producers, whose livelihoods are threatened by rising waters, sediment and saltwater intrusions, and industrial and agriculture pollution.
Shrimp, crabs, crawfish, and oysters each star in their own chapters, with luscious, uncomplicated, and specific instructions for their preparation. A generous number of expert kitchen tips will help with developing the deepest flavors and crispiest crusts, breaking down shellfish, and using and freezing leftovers. Other sections explore types of roux, gumbos, smothered and pickled vegetables, and an impressive riot of the sweets that Cajun cooks lay out for company.
Explained with confidence and patience, most of the recipes—whether for a dressed salad of wild thistle, for crawfish hand pies, or for leaf lard pastry stuffed with etouffe—can be made with a basic set of kitchen skills and pots. Many instructions end with exhortations to taste, season, and retaste. Embellished with plentiful photographs and suggestions for alternate ingredients or techniques, Mosquito Supper Club is an inviting collection of Melissa M. Martin’s Cajun impressive culinary and cultural knowledge.
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