Black is the unofficially official color of Halloween, making October the perfect month for seeking out the inky-darkest foods to feed the soul. Think black rice and quinoa, blackened fish, squid-ink pasta, charcoal, lava salt, black vinegar and sesame seeds. There are loads of ways to dig into New Orleans’ dark side.
One of the dishes that helped launch a thousand others— blackened fish, the creation of dearly departed chef Paul Prudhomme—continues its legendary reign at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. And you can believe us when we tell you that almost every local restaurant menu features some sort of blackened item, from the tuna Napoleon at Desi Vega’s Steakhouse to tacos at Juan’s Flying Burrito to blackened chicken salad and sliders at District.
Squid ink, most commonly used for coloring pasta, is well done (get it?) by chefs Brian Landry and David Whitmore, who pair black campanelle pasta with royal red shrimp and their deliciously murky Muddy Waters sauce at Jack Rose. At Avo chef Nick Lama tosses together sweet Louisiana crabmeat, tomatoes, garlic and toasted breadcrumbs with house-made squid-ink linguini.
Purple-black “forbidden” rice is gorgeous and tasty as a base for poke bowls at LemonShark; black vinegar is a stunningly sharp condiment that pairs perfectly with the steamed vegetable dumplings at Jung’s Golden Dragon. At Luvi chef Hao Gong drapes bright orange slices of salmon over black sesame-crusted bananas for his Monkey Snack, while the Notorious Bacon Sundae at Green Goddess is a wild composition of ice cream, bacon, smoked whipped cream and crystals of black lava salt.
Raw Republic’s basic witch, Sheena Maneena, created a thirst-quenching, black-as-night refresher called Potion X (rose-hibiscus flower, cardamom, lemon, honey and activated coconut charcoal), which can be poured into an onyx crystal-embedded water bottle (sold separately).
Take your hunger…and paint it black.