The Boil Advisory, Issue #4
At home with Chef Jason Goodenough
Short month, long newsletter. February is usually a rollercoaster of emotions for me, starting with my birthday and ending with the anniversary of a cancer diagnosis, with a lot of stuff happening in between—and that’s in a normal, non-COVID year. The weather doesn’t help, and these last few weeks have mirrored some of the emotional highs and lows. But now we’re back to sunshine and 70s, almost as though travel through most of the state wasn’t shut down just last week from a snowstorm.
This week, we’re in the home kitchen of Chef Jason Goodenough, who recently shuttered his uptown restaurant Carrollton Market, citing apathy after a well-documented exchange with a guest. I reached out to see what Jason’s cooking at home, and to try and preserve a favorite dish of his from the restaurant.
Come for the recipe, stay for the links in the Lagniappe section—lots of goodies in there this week.
What’s in the Pot?
Crabs. I was gifted a mess of them last week while on an oyster boat, shooting a story for our next newsletter. A dozen blue crabs may not yield a lot of meat, but they provide a lot of flavor. We saved most of the lump meat to test the cavatelli recipe, roasted the shells for stock, and then used that stock for a batch of crab grits to go with the collards Rémy had in the fridge from recipe testing for the Turkey and the Wolf cookbook.
We’re also making our way through a box of snacks sent in by friends for a virtual birthday potluck, which Rémy organized on my behalf earlier in the month. What a time to be alive!
At Home with Jason Goodenough
Chef Jason Goodenough opened Carrollton Market in March of 2014. Before publicizing an exchange with a guest (Kenneth), who wrote in late last year offended over the restaurant’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Jason and his team tried various formats to keep the doors open during the pandemic: family-style takeout, a small market, limited dine-in seating. “I didn't really want to come back at all,” he explains, “but my staff approached me and were like, ‘Hey, can we give this a shot?’” He closed the uptown restaurant for good in January and shared the news on Instagram. “This is not a financial decision,” he explained then. “Instead, now that the stimulus will prop up my staff, I am walking away because my passion for the craft has turned to apathy and my love of serving people has turned in to disdain towards them.”
After publishing the exchange with Kenneth, Jason tallied Kenneth’s total lifetime spend at Carrollton Market and donated the amount to Café Hope, a non-profit organization helping at-risk youth in and around NOLA learn life skills and service industry training. He noted that he sits on the organization’s board and that fundraising had been hard in 2020, and asked others to help #MatchKensSpend. Within a few days, over $10,000 had been raised.
While Jason rolls out pasta dough in his home kitchen, we talk about the restaurant industry, about our dogs, and about the slower pace we’ve both found (even if by accident) here in New Orleans. “Potholes and streetcars keep you humble,” he laughs. Jason worked his first year here—a year and a day, specifically—for Emeril, then commuted to South Dakota as a private chef for a year and a half. Then, he returned to New Orleans full-time and opened Carrollton Market. I ask him if he had an initial concept for the restaurant: “My sales pitch was that my wife was in the third year of her residency and pregnant. I'm like, ‘I need to find a place, get it open, have it open for a couple of months where I can take a week or two off when she gives birth.’”
Their youngest daughter was born less than three months after he opened the doors. “On my way home from the hospital, I got a call that my sous chef had gotten so drunk the night before, I had to go in and work the line. I walked into my house with [my daughter] and immediately had to turn around and leave. I think I've always resented the chef's life for that.”
Several years later, the pandemic hit, and with that came burnout. “I was checked out already,” he tells me. “I didn't have a whole lot of interest in staying open, I just didn't see a way out… I had my viral experience with the guy that emailed me, and it kind of helped me stage manage my departure.”
“I'm more popular closing my restaurant than I ever was running it.” He laughs, then outlines next steps for assembling his cavatelli dish.
I ask what he’s finding inspiration in these days and he tells me it’s chicken. (Hot tip: Rouses is currently selling the same chickens from Springer Mountain Farms that Jason used to buy for the restaurant.) “Most of my cooking is opening my refrigerator and figuring out what I'm gonna cook for my wife and kids at night.” Throughout our interview, Jason comments several times about how much time he now gets to spend with his kids. Then he jokes that the family is more discerning than his customers were, adding, “At Carrollton Market, I'm always right even when I'm wrong. At home, I'm always wrong even when I'm right.”
While you can no longer eat at his restaurant, you can follow Jason on Instagram, support Café Hope, and support some of his favorite local vendors, like Tomott’s Cajun Farm, Pete & Clara’s Seafood, Anna Marie Shrimp, Great Escape Fisheries, Cajun Caviar, and Tabasco. Jason adds one more request in yet another Instagram post: “…recognize that in spite of their brave faces, restaurant workers are suffering on many levels. Be kind to them, eat out as often as you can, and tip well — whether you’re picking up or dining in.”
Creole Cream Cheese Cavatelli
Jason says that he learned to make cavatelli while working in a fine-dining Italian restaurant in South Philly. He was making it at Carrollton Market one day when he realized he didn’t have ricotta on hand, but “I happened to have some Creole cream cheese in the fridge and threw it in instead of the ricotta, part for part, and it worked perfectly.”
Jason shares this recipe from the restaurant. “It’s super simple—which, you know, most Louisiana food is.” He notes that most of these ingredients can be found at our local farmers markets and points out that Creole cream cheese is included in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, with a long history here in New Orleans, though it can be hard to find in stores today. Both Mauthe’s Dairy and Dorignac’s sell it by the tub, and Edible New Orleans (RIP) still offers a recipe adapted from John Folse.
One note: the dough recipe makes about twice what’s needed for this dish, but there’s no easy way to split one egg, so you’ll have leftovers. We’ll be using ours for cacio e pepe since it soaks up butter so well.
What you’ll need:
1 1/2 tsps. olive oil
3+ cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsps. marscarpone cheese
12 oz. Creole cream cheese
6 Tbsps. unsalted butter, separated
1 pint cauliflower florets (about 1/2 of a small head)
1 shallot, diced
4-5 sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus a few whole for garnish
8 oz. lump crab meat
How to make it:
Fill a large pot with water, salt generously, and it bring to a boil on the stove.
Whisk the egg and olive oil together. Combine the flour and marscarpone in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg and oil to the flour mix, then spoon the Creole cream cheese in, one scoop at a time, until all ingredients are incorporated. Beat on medium speed, making small adjustments with flour or water if needed, until the dough forms a ball and doesn’t stick to your fingers when pinched. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least an hour.
Shaping the dough requires practice (and maybe some help from Pasta Grannies), but it’s a forgiving process. Divide the dough and set half aside (see note above about leftovers!). Pinch off small handfuls from the remaining half, then roll out each on a floured surface, creating a long rope about the thickness of a finger (the tighter the rope, the better the finished shape). Cut the rope into half-inch pieces, then toss those in a little flour to keep them from sticking together. Using the blade of a non-serrated knife, press into the dough and drag towards you, creating a fold down the middle. (Jason explains that this is what holds the sauce.)
In a large skillet, melt 4 Tbsps. of the butter over medium heat; add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Continue cooking until the butter and the cauliflower both start to brown, then add the shallot and continue caramelizing—adjust the heat if needed, being careful not to burn the shallot. Add the fresh pasta to the boiling water, and stir once or twice to keep them from sticking. While the cavatelli cook, add a couple spoonfuls of the pasta water to the skillet with the cauliflower, then squeeze the the lemon over it, add the chopped sage, and grate Parmesan over the top.
Add the crabmeat and remaining butter to the skillet, tossing lightly to fold everything together. Once the pasta floats, use a slotted spoon and add it directly to the skillet—Jason says that at this point the sauce should all stick to the pasta if you tilt the pan. Divide into 2-3 serving bowls, then fry the remaining whole sage leaves in the butter left in the pan.
Garnish with fried sage and another fresh grind of Parmesan.
Baldwin & Co., an independent bookstore + coffee shop + podcast studio, opened its doors this week.
Bellegarde’s breadmaking workshops are back.
Also back? Venice Marina’s Nutria Rodeo.
Another TikTok video: this time, saving your eyes from the sting of onions. Can confirm that this helps; still mad this wasn’t taught in Home Ec (#genxer).
Jared Serigné of Outside the Levees recaps duck season with a recipe for duck legs with grits.
Another list from Where Black NOLA Eats, this one rounding up restaurants serving Lent-friendly fare.
Ian McNulty wrote about the hope and challenges of this year’s crawfish season.
And Bright Side Oysters, a small off-bottom operation in Grand Isle, just launched a GoFundMe to help rebuild the farm after Hurricane Zeta ripped through late last fall.
Hi again. I tend to shy away from self-promotion, but if this little project is something you like—or at least like the potential of—would you share it with a few friends and ask them to subscribe? I’m not trying to grow an audience for my own benefit (though it’s always nice to broaden my feedback loop), but with enough subscribers, I could potentially find a sponsor or two to help hire contributors, produce visually richer stories, and to further support other local small businesses.
Thanks for subscribing. We’ll be back in two weeks, from a boat in Empire where Captain Matt Tesvich is dredging for Gulf oysters!