Les Recettes de la Maison Jean-Batiste Andre’ laFleur

A Kreol International Magazine Exclusive: Louisiana Creole Gourmet & Scholar, John laFleur shares some culinary secrets from his Louisiana Creole Food Club!

If you’re going to take the pleasure of preparing great tasting and healthful food, it should also be delicious in both flavor and presentation. At my Louisiana Creole Food Club, my guests expect this to be part of their experience whether they are overnight weekend or Diner des Dimanche lunch guests!

For example, recently, I had the great pleasure of welcoming two delightful and well-informed young Louisiana Creoles to the Jean-Batiste Andre’ LaFleur Creole Plantation Guesthouse & Food Club.

Being Creole cultural aficionada, but children of a later generation who both grew up in the respective cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, they were not familiar with the delicious and savory country Creole menu I was about to introduce them to.  And, of course, it was to be a memorable and healthful culinary and cultural experience for this lovely young couple, Jeremy and Lindsay.

I began by planning a delicious Spring presentation of my hors d’oeuvre tray. Laying down a bed of fresh arugula upon an elegant Murano-purchased ‘leaf’ tray, I selected a combination of fresh cherry tomatoes, large mushroom caps, bread ‘n butter cornichons or pickles. I artfully arranged these items upon the tray, adding a necklace of crackers. I prepared a simple crawfish dressing w/ delectable and fresh herbs and spices to which I also infused goat cheese, and ‘christened’ with small spoons of warmed cranberry sauce and garnished with chive.

Champignons farci d’ecrevisses au jardinage

(Crawfish stuffed mushroom caps w/ fresh garden selection)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh peeled crawfish tail meat
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 tsp. fresh crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 tsp. fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese/cream cheese (if you prefer)
  •  2 cups fresh variegated arugula/roquette
  • 4-6 lg. mushroom caps (sautéed lightly in white wine and garlic butter)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cubed spears of bread ‘n butter pickles
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce

Blend all of the first category of ingredients together in a mixing bowl and then, place into a food processor to achieve mousse-like consistency or texture.  Fill each pre-sautéed mushroom cap with mixture. Then, apply 1 tsp. warmed cranberry sauce over each.

Presentation

Layer a colorful platter w/ fresh variegated arugula and garnish a necklace of crackers or mini-toasts.  Arrange cubed bread ‘n butter pickles (cornichons), & cherry tomatoes artfully within the necklace border. Drizzle with fresh chopped chives & serve. Serves 2-3 guests.

Ring the bell and present w/ aperitif of white wine or Champagne.

Suggested Aperitif

Sherry cordials

Maitre de la Maison

(Can be adapted as a Lenten Creole Breakfast by withholding bacon and adding another choice of shellfish)

Maitre de la Maison

Maitre de la Maison

Ingredients

  • 1 lg. purple eggplant, unpeeled & sliced in 1/4 inch medallions
  • 4 cups of fresh shrimp/crawfish/crabmeat-peeled & de-veined
  • 2 cups fried bacon-crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh French basil
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (white or brown for caramelizing)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 pinch of ground clove
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 head julienned onion
  • 1 cup bacon grease obtained after frying
  • 2 cups Alfredo sauce, thinned with 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped green onion/chives
  • 4-1/4 inch slices of fresh French bread

Place eggplant medallions into a large skillet of hot bacon grease, w/ julienned onion, adding meats of choice and sugar to caramelize until medallions are golden brown and limp. Onions should be translucent. Add seasonings and fresh herbs. Once the herbs have melted down, add thinned Alfredo sauce and lemon juice.

Simmer 3-4 minutes

Presentation

Serve over single slices of French bread, upon colorful breakfast service plates.

After moistening each round of bread with rich sauce, place 2-3 medallions of eggplant over French bread rounds as if layering a cake, adding spoons full of herbs & sauce over each.

Remove shrimp from sauce with perforated spoon and generously distribute over each service plate. Sprinkle fried bacon over the shrimp & herb sauce drenched gateaux or eggplant cakes. Garnish w/ wedges of lemon over lime & small bouquet garni of cilantro, fresh dill & French basil. Top w/ chopped green onions. Serves 3-4

Suggested accompaniments

Fresh assorted fruit bowl or fresh figs-uncooked-w/ crème fraiche or flavored yogurt choice. Add scones with honey and cafe’-au-lait or noir and your guests will either love or envy you-lustfully!

A la sante’ et bon apetit, mes amis!