Here for the first time the famous food of Louisiana is presented in a cookbook written by a great creative chef who is himself world-famous. The unusual Cajun and Creole cooking of South Louisiana has roots going back over two hundred years, and today it is the one in reality vital, growing regional cuisine in America. No one is more responsible than Paul Prudhomme for preserving and expanding the Louisiana tradition, which he inherited from his own Cajun background.
Chef Prudhomme’s incredibly good food has brought people from far and wide America and the world to his restaurant, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, in New Orleans. To set down his recipes for home cooks, alternatively, he did not work in the restaurant. In a small test kitchen, equipped with a home-size stove and utensils normal for a home kitchen, he retested every recipe two and three times to get exactly the results he wanted. Logical though this is, it was an unprecedented way for a chef to write a cookbook. But Paul Prudhomme started cooking in his mother’s kitchen when he was a youngster. To him, the difference between home and restaurant procedures is obvious and had to be taken into account.
So here, in explicit detail, are recipes for the great traditional dishes–gumbos and jambalayas, Shrimp Creole, Turtle Soup, Cajun “Popcorn,” Crawfish Etouffee, Pecan Pie, and dozens more–each refined by the skill and genius of Chef Prudhomme so that they are at once authentic and modern in their methods.
Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen is also full of surprises, for he is unique in the way he has enlarged the repertoire of Cajun and Creole food, creating new dishes and variations within the old traditions. Seafood Stuffed Zucchini with Seafood Cream Sauce, Panted Chicken and Fettucini, Veal and Oyster Crepes, Artichoke Prudhomme–these and many others are newly conceived recipes, but they could have been created only by a Louisiana cook. The most famous of Paul Prudhomme’s original recipes is Blackened Redfish, a daringly simple dish of fiery Cajun flavor that is incessantly singled out by food writers as an example of the best of new American regional cooking.
For Louisianians and for cooks in every single place in the country, this is the most exciting cookbook to be published in many years.
There was once a time when words like étouffée, tasso, and jambalaya were hardly known outside of the Cajun and Creole communities of Louisiana. Then along came Chef Paul Prudhomme, and all of that changed. Big enough to be his own force of nature, Prudhomme all but single-handedly turned Cajun cooking into a national food trend, changing without end the way many a cook thinks about spicing food. And Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen was the book that made it happen. But guess what? It’s still happening, and so is the book!
Anyone searching for a primer on Cajun cooking need look no farther. Chef Paul takes the reader by the hand and opens up a world that includes four kinds of roux, Jalapeno and Cheese Rolls, Shrimp Étouffée, and the to-die-for Cajun Meatloaf. Good old-fashioned Red Beans and Rice and Sweet Potato Pecan Pie aren’t forgotten either.
Chef Paul tested all of his recipes in a home kitchen using common culinary tools–no professional equipment needed here. These are recipes that are high in spice, so keep in mind that to have a large vat of water on hand! –Schuyler Ingle