Acadiana Table. Hmmmm, Acadiana. How do you know this is a Cajun and Creole cookbook? It’s all there in the first chapter: First You Make a Roux. There are two pages of detail on making a roux “as deep and dark as blackstrap molasses.” That roux is put to work on the next page in a Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo. Gumbo is hardly “simple” food. There are 18 ingredients in this recipe including filé powder, a Cajun specialty made from the dried and leaves of the sassafras tree.
You probably know that Cajun and Creole cooking is famous for being long and slow. You may not have considered it to be complex, too, but it is. That complexity comes from the refinement of recipes in an evolutionary process that has taken centuries. Multiple cultures have participated in the brews of treasures that come from those steaming kettles and pots. The recipes are here, many of the secrets of here, and you have the opportunity here to explore a truly exceptional cuisine.
Consider breakfast. You have a selection here that includes:
Duck Egg and Squash Blossom Tart
Lemon-Pecan Pancakes with Southern Comfort Molasses
Péche Pecan Pain Perdue
Pepper Pot Egg Skillet
Blackberry Sweet Dough Pies [turnovers!]
Sweet Potato Waffles with Almond Cane Syrup
That’s just breakfast. For the rest of the day, you might select one of these:
Blackened and Smothered Ribeyes with Rice and Gravy
Chicken Leg Fricassee
Whole Catfish in Creole Red Gravy
Charred Persimmon Salad with Agave Nectar Vinaigrette
Grilled Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese Salad
Seafood-Stuffed Poblanos with Mango Salsa
Smothered Quail and Chanterelles with Pickled Red Onions
Comfort Cobbler with Peaches, Pears and Apples
I’ve listed these last recipes for a purpose. Here you see the wide-ranging and sophisticated pathways of South Louisiana cuisine. Simple ingredients, perhaps, but explored with enthusiasm. That Grilled Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese Salad is a perfect example. It’s a lovely combination driven by the grilling for the fruit. In this book, you are never far from open flame.
Author George Graham has lived in South Louisiana all his life. His blog, Acadiana Table, was launched in 2013 and has been recognized and awarded for its distinctive food and quality. This book is equally impressive.
Ah, this book was published in 2016. I got a proof copy, as the picture shows, but I put the book aside and missed the chance to blog when it was first published. My apologies to all. I rue the day, or is that roux the day?