If you have eaten at one of the 10 establishments this third-generation restaurateur has a hand in, you'll be familiar with much of what is featured in "Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook," with Gene Bourg (Vissi d'Arte Books, $45).
The recipes in this restaurant-style collection of dishes, drinks, stocks and sauces have been honchoed by Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group executive chef Haley Bittermann, and the book was co-written by Bourg, who reviewed restaurants for the Times-Picayune for nine years. Helpful for the home cook are recommendations for fish substitutions and illustrated guides for prepping fish fillets, crabs, crawfish and oysters.
There are enough mentions of "Creole tomatoes" among the 150 recipes to send a reader running to the Internet for more information.
They are tomatoes with enhanced goodness that comes from being grown in southern Louisiana soil. Brennan stays true to the taste of his town, but it would be a shame to skip the dishes that call for the Creoles, such as crabmeat and avocado with spicy vinaigrette. Wait for summer's worthy local tomatoes.
For the alligator, cane syrup and other Louisiana-specific ingredients, turn to the ingredient source guide at the back of the book.