Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cook-Along: Paul Prudhomme's Eggplant Bayou Teche

I've been swamped at work (new clients!) and been sweltering at home. At times last week, we joked that we'd brought back the desert climate with us; although this week has been *really* nice - warm, but with a slight breeze!

When it started cooling down earlier this week, I brought home some crab meat from work to make some southern food - weather inspired, of course!

During the pride parade last weekend, I was talking about southern food / New Orleans with I & G. The weather reminded me of Louisiana and I just wanted some gumbo / seafood etoufee / po-boys to go along with it!

I'd purchased Paul Prudhomme's "Louisiana Kitchen" cookbook (used!) probably within the first month I got back from a business trip to NOLA in...July 2005. Hurricane Katrina hit merely a month afterwards, and truth be told, it broke my heart to see that such a lively-spirited city had been seemingly broken.

I don't think it's been rebuilt to what it once was, but I do hope to return to New Orleans in the future. (And to drunkingly scream on the phone about the gigantuan cockroaches! lol!)

For now, a Louisiana dish from Paul Prudhomme, who was at the IFT conference I was at in July 2005.

The recipe I used may be found here. The dish entails making a medium-brown roux, which is a mixture of equal parts of oil and flour. While the recipe itself calls for oil, the French-schooled part of me begged to substitute some butter for flavour. I also used a dry sake in place of the pernod, and made substitutions to utilize only two eggplants. I *love* fried eggplant, but there was no way we could have finished three teches each!

The roux was cooked at a medium-low heat until the colour was similar to that of a weak caramel sauce:

Another difference in Southern cooking vs traditional French cuisine is in the mirepoix - while French chefs utilize onion, carrot and celery as a base for their dishes, Southern cooks use onion, celery and bell pepper. Makes it more interesting, and addes to the layers of flavour. :)

We had this for dinner one night, lunch the next day, and split the remaining eggplant half for dinner again. The butter sauce that is made with the shrimp is delectable. Make sure you use a nice seafood / shrimp stock and don't skimp on the butter - it adds to the yum factor!


  1. I've had this before -- years ago -- and it's to die for! Check out the banana bread recipe. (It's much more straightforward!) I've been making it for years. And take his advice and toast the pecans first. We love it!

  2. Thanks 71square!
    Will have to brush off the book and make some banana bread soon. Thanks for the suggestion!


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