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Ralph and Kacoo's Marinated Crab Claws From Before 1989

Re: Ralph and Kacoo's Marinated Crab Claws
From: Patrick
Date: 3/19/2022, 1:59 PM

On 3/19/2022 8:45 AM, Patrick wrote:

The original Ralph and Kacoo's was located in Baton Rouge and New Orleans 
(They eventually sold out to some big chain). Their Marinated Crab Claws 
were fantastic. Would it be possible to find the recipe? Thank you in advance.


Hello Patrick,

There is an informative article about Ralph & Kacoo's from 1990 here: One Year After Buyout

According to that article, Ralph & Kacoo's was bought in December, 1988 by Piccadilly Cafeterias Inc. There were 6 locations at that time. The article further states that the first thing that Piccadilly did was to standardize the recipes used in the six restaurants. The six restaurants were using different ingredients and cooking methods, so the gumbo(or whatever) you were served at one of them might not be quite the same as the gumbo you got at another location.

That causes quite a problem when you try to pin down a particular recipe in use before the sale to Piccadilly. If  you want to duplicate a Ralph & Kacoo's dish that you had before 1989, then getting the correct recipe might mean that you have to get the recipe used at the particular Ralph & Kacoo's at which you ate it. Not only do you have to find a recipe in use before 1989, but you may have to find the particular recipe for that dish that was used by the particular R & K location at which you ate it. When people post a recipe from a restaurant on the Internet, they almost never include such information with the recipe. So far, that's not a problem with your request, because R & K's Marinated Crab Claws recipe does not appear to have been posted on the Internet at all. If you do find a recipe for them at some point, then the issue may be a problem at that time.

There is a post here in which the individual says that they make R & K's marinated crab claws using the recipe that is found in "the Ralph & Kacoo's Restaurant Cookbook."  See: City-Data
They didn't post the recipe.

The only R & K's Restaurant cookbook that I can locate is this one: "A Taste of Louisiana: Including Recipes from the Ralph and Kacoo Restaurants, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Metairie" by Ralph Olinde and Kacoo Olinde. Amazon has a few used copies of it. See:
The copyright date of that cookbook is 1984 - well before the sale to Piccadilly, so if it has a recipe for marinated crab claws, it'll be a pre-1989 one. Ebay and other used book sites may have that cookbook as well. So, if you get a copy of that cookbook, then you may have the recipe that you seek, or at least one from the right time period.

That said, I have a 1991 cookbook called "Gulf Coast Cooking" by Virginia Elverson that contains a recipe called "Ralph & Kacoo's Crab Finger Hors D'Oeuvre." The problems with it are that the copyright date of this cookbook is 1991, which would be after the sale & standardization of the recipes, and the recipe does not involve actually marinating the crab claws or "fingers".  The sauce is merely poured over the claws at serving time. At any rate, that recipe is below. The "sauce" used in it has very similar ingredients to the "marinade" used in other "marinated crab claws" recipes that I have seen. (Hmm... If one marinated the claws in the "sauce" in the refrigerator for several hours....? Just a thought.)


Ralph & Kacoo's Crab Finger Hors D'Oeuvre

32       cooked crab claws
1/2 cup    red wine vinegar
1/4 cup    lemon juice
1 tsp    chopped tarragon leaves
10       cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 cup      chopped scallions
1 cup    chopped parsley
1 cup    chopped celery
3/4 tsp    salt
3/4 tsp  sugar
3/4 tsp  ground black pepper
1 cup    olive oil

Crack the crab claws and remove half the shell.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

Mix remaining ingredients except the olive oil,
making sure that the salt  and sugar have dissolved.
Mix in the olive oil and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, arrange crab claws on a serving
platter and cover with sauce.

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