You can follow a recipe that calls for canned beans and is easy on the time, number of kitchen steps, and ingredients. Or stick to the classic version, simmered low and slow with ham, sausage, and bay leaves for added flavor and body. Decide which one when you keep reading.
The answer is somewhere in between. Creole cooking evolved out of the cosmopolitan culture of New Orleans, a city affected by the influx of international colonists who settled there after the Louisiana Purchase. New Orleans's denizens adopted spices from Africa and the Caribbean, butter and cream from France, tomatoes from Italy, and peppers from Spain and took advantage of the abundance of oysters, shrimp, and crab abundantly available in the Gulf.
Cajun cooking developed in Louisiana's rural backcountry. Acadians drew from their French and Southern roots, cooking whatever could be farmed and trapped locally, along with other inexpensive ingredients such as crawfish, rice, beans, and pork fat. Some of Louisiana's dishes are distinctly Creole, like shrimp rémoulade. Others — take crawfish étouffée, for instance — are credited to the Cajuns. But certain dishes shared by both cuisines, such as jambalaya, possess subtler differences: the Creole version typically contains tomatoes, while its Cajun counterpart employs a roux.
Over time, as the two terms have been used more generically and interchangeably, the differences between Cajun and Creole cooking have become blurred, and food historians have taken to focusing on regional differences within the state. What's your take on Cajun versus Creole? Which do you like more?
Don't skip the spicy horseradish dipping sauce; it pairs perfectly with the small potatoes and succulent shrimp. Do serve with icy cold beer. Check out the recipe and read more
A spice made from sassafras tree leaves that have been dried and ground. It serves as both a seasoning and a thickening agent when used sparingly. Also known as gumbo filé, this fruity spice plays an important role in Cajun and Creole cuisine, particularly in gumbo.
Tonight, invite your family to celebrate Mardi Gras with this classic Creole rice dish. Although jambalaya traditionally simmers on the stove for hours, this simple variation takes some help from the store, cutting down the cook time.
It's not short of flavor, though; hot sauce, shrimp, and kielbasa sausage provide depth and deliciousness. To get the recipe now, read more
I adore shrimp, especially in the Summer, but ordinary cocktail sauce doesn't always do it justice. New Orleans rémoulade, on the other hand, has a bold flavor that transforms simple boiled shrimp into an impressive standalone meal.
Most people are familiar with the French version of rémoulade, a mayonnaise-based sauce made with Dijon mustard and capers. But Louisiana rémoulade — used primarily as a shrimp topping — is made with olive oil, celery, green onions, shallots, and parsley. The reddish tint comes from the addition of paprika and cayenne, and this Cajun condiment with a slight Italian flavor is full of spice without being too spicy.
Rémoulade can be prepared in advance, so try making the condiment on Sunday night then boiling the shrimp for an easy but gourmet Monday night dinner. I even used the leftovers the next day to make a sandwich, so stay tuned for that tomorrow. To learn how to make this simple sauce for shrimp rémoulade, read more