Get out the big plates. We're sharing our best-ever shrimp dish plus garlicky grilled oysters that can't be beat.

By Steve Millburg
September 11, 2008

Chances are your spice cabinet already contains what you need to prepare great Gulf Coast dishes―ground red and black pepper, kosher salt, and Creole seasonings. The key is having a light touch, not a heavy hand, says chef and cookbook author Robert St. John. Some of his recipes include plenty of herbs and spices, but don't let that intimidate you; most ingredients are basic and familiar. Make it fresh, seasoned, and simple. That's the key to enjoying the food―and the lifestyle―of the Gulf.