Fresh Ideas

Whenever I’m dining out and looking for fresh Louisiana seafood, the first person I visit is Executive Chef Ryan André, who heads the kitchen at Baton Rouge’s Le Creolé. The Highland Road restaurant has been serving breadless crab cakes and whole grilled fish the last two years.

André deals firsthand with some of Louisiana’s best seafood purveyors, tracking down what’s fresh, best and always in season. From here, locally caught Gulf fish show up on both the lunch and dinner menus with $1 martinis during weekday lunches at the bar.

André regularly updates his menu, too, offering Asian-Creole fusions such as lobster wontons, Cajun boudin spring rolls, and lobster potpie, as well as seasonal salads and “Nola-style” meats. And, you can always find classic turtle soup and barbecue shrimp any day of the week.

As a seasonal cook, I think a great restaurant should inspire the ways we cook at home.

It’s with great appreciation that I share one of André’s easy restaurant-quality recipes you can make at home that’s perfect for summer, Tuna Tartare.

For those familiar with Steak Tartare, André’s Tuna Tartare is a departure from the French classic prepared during my mother’s culinary school days.

Instead of raw steak, egg and tartar sauce on the side, André’s dish is a lighter combination of ingredients without the high-fat or caloric heft. The recipe features sushi-grade tuna and spicy micro greens, ditching the tartar sauce and focusing on a simple blend of spices. The recipe makes a clearly healthful variation that’s lighter and quick to prepare.

By featuring tuna instead of steak, a simple blended egg yolk is all the sauce the fish needs. At Le Creolé, André uses duck eggs, but an everyday farm-fresh egg will do (organic if you have it).

Simply drizzle the beaten egg yolk across your serving dish and spread the tuna on top. Finish the recipe with a blend of cumin, ginger and cayenne for a subtle spice that doesn’t mask the tuna.

For a restaurant-quality dinner at home that’s light and innovative, try André’s recipe for Tuna Tartare ($1 martinis and friendly service not included). For that, you’ll have to visit André.

Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. She can be reached with daily recipes at or via email at