Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blackened Chicken

    1/2 teaspoon paprika                           
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
    1/8 teaspoon onion powder
    2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    cooking spray or oil
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    Lightly grease a baking sheet.
    Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat 5 minutes 'til smoking hot.
    Mix the paprika, salt, cayenne, cumin, thyme, white pepper, & onion powder.
    Oil chicken breasts with on both sides coat breasts evenly w/spice mixture.
    Place the chicken in the hot pan, and cook for 1 minute on other side.
    Place the breasts on the prepared baking sheet.
    Bake in the preheated oven until not pink in center and the juices run clear
    (5 min)
Tip:  Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Easy Cajun Blackened Salmon

This is one I came across awhile back
For the Smoked Cajun Spice Blend:

    6 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
    4 tablespoons kosher salt
    4 tablespoons garlic powder
    3 tablespoons dried thyme
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
   (can be adjusted depending on your heat tolerance.)
    2 tablespoons dried leaf oregano
    1 tablespoon black pepper
For the Cajun Blackened Salmon (per serving):
    1 skinless, boneless salmon fillet
    (if frozen, thawed completely according to package instructions)
    1 teaspoon or so Homemade Smoked Cajun Spice Blend (to taste)
    2 teaspoons canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil
Optional, for serving:
    Hot cooked rice
    Mango Salsa or other fruit salsa
To Make the Smoked Cajun Spice Blend:
    Whisk all the ingredients together.
    (Stores in a jar with an airtight lid for 6 months or so)
To Make the Cajun Blackened Salmon:
 1) Lightly pat both sides of the fish fillet with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Careful to not squash the fish sprinkle at least ½ of a teaspoon of the Homemade Smoked Cajun Spice Blend over each side of the fish fillet. For stronger flavor or (if you're using a larger fillet), sprinkle about 2 tsps of  Smoked Cajun Spice Blend on each side of the fillet.
  2) Place a clean, dry cast-iron skillet medium-high burner 1 minute. Add oil swirl it to coat when oil shimmers lay seasoned fish fillet down in the pan until the fish appears to be cooked (color changes from bright pink to opaque ⅔ of the way up the sides; if it smells like the spices are blackening too quickly, turn the heat down a little)
3) When cooked ⅔ of the way up turn over (cook for 1 more minute) or until the fish appears opaque or cooked all the way up the sides.
Transfer the fillets to a plate or platter and lightly tent with foil. Remember that fish as meat- continues to cook a bit or @ rest when removed from heat.

Blackened Salmon and Rice

 2 cups rice                  
 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika                                     
 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 1 teaspoon dried thyme
 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
 3 1/2 unsalted butter
 Juice of 1 lemon
 1 1-ounce can corn kernels (drained)
 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
 1 lemon (cut in wedges)

 1) Heat oven to 400° F. 
 2) Cook the rice to package directions.
3) Combine paprika, cayenne, thyme, garlic  powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
4) In a saucepan medium heat melt 2 1/2 tbs butter and add lemon juice.
5) Heat a large Cast-iron skillet medium-high heat. With 1 salmon fillet at a time, dip the top then bottom first in the lemon butter then in the spices.
6) Cook the salmon until blackened, 2 minutes per side.
(transfer to oven 8 minutes.)
7) Stir the corn, parsley, and the remaining salt and butter into the rice.

Transfer the salmon and rice to individual plates and serve with the lemon wedges


Blackening is a cooking technique used in the preparation of fish and other foods. Often associated with Cajun cuisine, technique of blackening was popularized by chef Paul Prudhomme. The characteristic brown-black color of the crust results is caused by the combination of browned milk solids in the butter and the charred mixture spices.The proteins are dipped in melted butter and dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices (some combination of thyme, oregano, chili pepper, peppercorns, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. It is then cooked in a very hot cast-iron skillet. While the original recipe calls for redfish, it can be used for other fish and meats such as pork, steak or chicken.The food is dipped in melted butter and then dredged in a mixture of herbs and spices, usually some combination of thyme, oregano, chili pepper, peppercorns, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. It is then cooked in a very hot cast-iron skillet. While the original recipe calls for redfish, it can be used for other fish and meats such as pork, steak or chicken.Here is chef Paul's recipe: Paul Prudhomme's mix                          
    1 tablespoon sweet paprika  
    2 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon cayenne
    3⁄4 teaspoon white pepper
    3⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
    1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves (Serves 6)
Combine all ingredients. Keep unused portion in tight container.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Banana's Foster

When Owen Brennan (much beloved proprietor of the Old Absinthe House) was teased by Count
 Arnaud (remember him from Meunière) an Irishman's culinary skills ended with boiled potatoes he was determined to prove him wrong. In 1946 he opened Owen Brennan's Vieux Carre Restaurant on Bourbon Street where Bananas Foster, Breakfast at Brennan's, made  history.

In the early 1950's, Owen's younger brother John was running a produce company with a surplus of bananas. He asked his sister, Ella, and Chef Paul Blangé, to come up with a new dessert using these bananas. Owen Brennan decided to name a dessert after his friend and fellow member of the Metropolitan Crime Commission Richard Foster. What they came up with is now the world famous Bananas Foster. The dish was originally invented at Brennan's Vieux Carré Restaurant on Bourbon Street across from The Old Absinthe House. After a successful decade of business and Owen's untimely passing, the restaurant moved to its present quarters 417 Royal Street. (a new location with an illustrious past)

It was constructed in 1795 by the great grandfather of Edgar Degas, the famous pink building formally housed the Louisiana State Bank; it served as a private residence frequented by President Andrew Jackson, it was home to eccentric chess master Paul Morphy as well. It was owned by to Tulane University and leased and then sold to the Brennan family in 1984.
Here are their recipes                          
 •  Single batch (Serves 2-4)
1 Ounce Butter
1⁄2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1⁄4 Tsp Cinnamon
1 1⁄2 Ounces Banana Liqueur
1 1⁄2 Ounces Aged Rum
1⁄2 Banana Per Customer
•  Single batch (Serves 5-8)
2 Ounce Butter
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar 1⁄2 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Ounces Banana Liqueur 1 1⁄2 Ounces Aged Rum
1⁄2 Banana Per Customer
 •  Combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan.
As the butter melts under medium heat, add the banana liquor and stir to combine.
•  As the sauce starts to cook, peel and add the bananas to the pan.
Cook the bananas until they begin to soften (about 1-2 minutes)
•  Tilt back the pan to slightly heat the far edge. Once hot carefully add the rum, and tilt the pan toward the flame, to ignite the rum.
•  Stir the sauce to ensure that all of the alcohol cooks out. Serve cooked bananas over ice cream and top with the sauce in the pan.                                                                  

Trout Meunière (Old Style)

The original French style of trout meunière, back then, was seasoned, floured (sautéd in butter) then topped with the browned butter from the pan. This is still how the dish is still done in some restaurants. The word "meunière" is a reference to the miller of wheat (whose wife, according to French lore) cooked everything coated with flour.
I had my first example at Arnauds (when I was but a wee tyke) Apparently, this was good as it was a new style with a New Orleans twist; invented by "Count" Arnaud while trying to standardize and stabilize the sauce so the fish could be fried not sautéd. (He added a bit of stock and roux to the butter and lemon, this sauce is incredibly good and works on other fried seafood)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoons salt-free Creole seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
Six 8-ounce speckled trout fillets
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter
1 cup veal stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice, strained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Peanut oil, for frying
Lemon wedges
• Combine the flour, Creole seasoning, salt in a wide bowl. Rinse trout fillets and pat dry, dredge fish in the seasoned flour knocking off excess.
• Make a medium-brown roux melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. (when it begins to bubble add the remaining seasoned flour stirring constantly til the mixture is medium brown.
• Put stock in another saucepan over medium-high heat whisking roux til dissolved (add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar simmer for 3 minutes) Remove the pan from the heat keeping sauce warm while you prepare the fish.
• You can sauté the fish in butter if you like (but it's more common in New Orleans to fry it, about  an inch or so of oil 375 degrees) Either way, cook until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side).
• Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve with lemon wedges.