Food is one of life’s simple joys and yet world cuisine can be both complex and intriguing. Coming from a background of lively music, deliciously hot weather and ocean blue waters Creole cuisine has all the elements to be exactly what it is, a mouth watering adventure. Enjoy!
Spanish, Portuguese, French and African styles of cooking and ingredients influenced and helped to create what is now Creole cuisine. Spicy, tangy, fresh and inspired could describe a typical Creole dish and it’s not necessary to go abroad to try this fantastic cuisine. Many restaurants feature this style of cooking along side Cajun dishes. Creole and Cajun cuisine are often considered one and the same. In truth, the two could be called cuisine cousins. The Creole style is a more refined version of it’s Cajun cousin that is considered a down home cooking style common in many households in Southern Louisiana, while Creole is the style of cooking one will find in big cities and fine restaurants. Creole is also more heavily influenced by French styles while Cajun is more influenced by Caribbean styles of cooking. With Creole being the cream of the crop there are some dishes that can’t be missed when taking a Creole culinary adventure. The best Creole dishes are culinary dreams come true. Try these tasty Creole dreams to get a true taste of authentic Creole cooking.
Jambalaya: French and Spanish inspired, this dish is a melting pot of fresh ingredients. Cooked in a huge pot simmering with sausage, chicken, tomatoes, onions, and rice and then spiced to perfection. Many different spices can be used in this dish but the traditional ones are sassafras powder, sage, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, thyme and bay leaves. The Cajun version of this dish is more smoky and hot than its Creole counterpart but both are equally as tempting. The name Jambalaya literally means ‘jumbled or thrown together’.
Gumbo: A Louisiana speciality that has been pleasing palettes since the 18th century. This soup can be thin or thick and is flavoured by a strong meat or seafood stock. Typically a gumbo contains shellfish and seasonal vegetables particularly tomatoes.Gumbo is Jambalaya seasoned with sassafras leaves or powder and served over rice. The flavour is addictively yummy and comforting.
Shrimp Remoulade: Served chilled this shrimp dish is refreshing and a good start to any Creole meal. Remoulade is a thick sauce much like mayonnaise or tartar sauce but can be spiced with anything from garlic and curry to horseradish and capers. In Louisiana paprika is the most common pairing for this sauce. The shrimp is boiled or sautéed before being chilled and served with the remoulade on top.
Muffalette Sandwich: Roasted red peppers, olives, salami, provolone, mortadella and prosciutto are slapped together on a fresh loaf of muffletta to form one of the most criminally delicious sandwiches in world history. Garlic, white wine vinegar, fresh parsley and olive oil are used to make the olive salad mixture that is spread on the bread before the sandwich is assembled. Truly a sandwich to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Red Beans and Rice: Incredibly simple to cook and surprisingly tasty. Dried red beans are boiled and then simmered until tender. Smoked sausage, ham, onion and tomato are added and simmered until a gravy begins to form. Spiced with garlic, salt and pepper and served over rice, the dish is suspiciously easy and wondrously addictive.
Eggs Pontchartrain: The perfect breakfast delight. An English muffin stacked with bacon, buttermilk soaked and breaded oysters and a poached egg. Top all this with a spicy hollandaise sauce and you have the most decadent breakfast ever invented. Call it a guilty pleasure if all that fat makes you uncomfortable, but don’t deny it, try it!
Hush Puppies: A side dish or appetiser, these are little golden fried balls of corn meal. Mixed with minced onions, egg and milk and seasoned with salt and sugar. These taste bud tempting treats can be eaten with an aioli type sauce or as a side to fried fish. They are worth a try if only for the adorable name.
Black Eyed Peas: Sounds boring, but it will shock your palate. Black eyed peas, peppers, hot sausage or smoked pork thrown into a pot with bay leaves, parsley, black pepper and a big old ham bone for flavour. Cook it all until creamy and serve over rice or as a side dish. The huge culinary shocker is that it tastes pretty fantastic.
Corn and Crab Bisque: Rich and comforting this soup is the cream of the crop. Fresh corn kernels, onions, bell peppers and garlic simmered together with heavy cream and filled with big chunks of crab meat. This soup is a Creole classic and a culinary legend well worth exploring.
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce: A sumptuous little dessert made by soaking a loaf of French bread in milk and egg. Cinnamon, vanilla, raisins and sugar are added and then the whole loaf is baked until firm. Cut into little cubes, spoon into a dessert dish and top with a buttery bourbon sauce. Truly, an authentic Creole dessert.
The world of Creole food is an amazing adventure and tasty too. Creole cuisine should be celebrated and what better way than to sample all of its best delicacies. The world wide influences on Creole cuisine makes it unique, exotic and delectable. So begin the journey through this culinary wonderland with the best of the best of Creole cuisine!