Creole Coleslaw


I was never a fan of coleslaw growing up, mainly because my grandmother didn’t make it and my Dad thought Captain D’s had good slaw. Sugar and mayonnaise mixed with murdered cabbage never appealed to me. It wasn’t until later in life when I had to cook for others that I grew to appreciate coleslaw, then and after I created my own version.

I have a lot of Louisiana influences in my cooking because part of my family is from New Orleans. Those flavors have always appealed to me and I use them quite often in a lot of dishes I prepare. At work we serve fish on Fridays and most people expect coleslaw with their fish, so I developed this recipe many years ago and it has become a “most requested” from my customers. Now they are begging for the recipe, so here it is.

If you’ve only eaten everyday coleslaw, give this recipe a try. It’s tart, not sweet, with just a hint of spice making it a perfect side dish for fish or BBQ.

  • 1 head of cabbage rough chopped (I prefer it chunky, not shredded like store-bought coleslaw)
  • 1 bell pepper, minced
  • 2 tbsp dill relish
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 tbsp Creole mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I use Kraft, if you’re used to eating mine at work)
  • 2 dashes Tabasco or Texas Pete’s hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp celery seed
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, sugar, celery seed and cajun seasoning. To the wet ingredients, add the cabbage, bell pepper, tomato and dill relish. Toss well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to enjoy.


Blackened Tilapia with Mushroom-Cream Sauce

This extremely easy tilapia recipe was a hit in the cafe this week and many of you asked that I share the recipe. The photo doesn’t show the sauce on the fish, because I’m using a photo from blackened tilapia. You can serve it without the sauce, but as many of you commented, the sauce is divine!

  • 2 5oz tilapia fillets
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Zataran’s Cajun seasoning (or any other brand)
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sliced baby bell mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro

Coat tilapia fillets with 2 tsp olive oil. Mix 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, salt and 1 tsp garlic powder and rub all over both sides of the fish. Grill fish on 450F hot outdoor grill for 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and cover with foil.

In a medium pan, saute mushrooms and pepper in 1 tbsp olive oil until tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up all the burnt, flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until almost totally dry. Remove pan from the heat, season with 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning. Add the butter and swirl the pan around until the butter melts. Add the cream, return pan to the heat until it just begins to bubble. Remove from heat, serve sauce over fish. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Cajun Seafood Gumbo

Here in Bama we’re gearing up for the game of the year.. the undefeated Crimson Tide plays the undefeated LSU Tigers this Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. This is the game that should decide who plays for the National Championship, so I’m going all out and making a championship recipe for tailgating on the quad.

Seafood gumbo takes a little time to prepare (and a lot of money to buy the ingredients). Gumbo can be made with seafood, chicken and sausage, sausage and seafood, etc.. it’s up to you and your taste. All you need to do is vary the recipe. If you love shrimp but hate oysters, leave them out. Try substituting the oysters with some diced up fish fillets, add some crawfish tails, etc. The trick to a flavorful gumbo is the roux. Roux is simply equal parts fat (oil, butter, etc) and flour cooked to varying stages based on color. For a simple biscuit gravy, you make a light roux. For a rich gumbo, you want a DARK roux, which is achieved by cooking down, stirring constantly, until the roux achieves the color you desire.

All Cajun cooking starts with a “trinity”. A trinity is a mixture of onions, bell peppers and celery and it is the basis for every recipe from the swamps.

To make a large pot of seafood gumbo:

  •  2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1 bunch of celery, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 32oz bottle of clam juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch of green onions (scallions) chopped
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1 pint oysters, shucked (do not drain)
  • 1 pint crab meat (picked for shells)
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot, over medium heat, heat the oil until hot. Add the flour, whisking constantly. Continue to cook and the roux will turn from a blonde roux, to sand, to light brown, to caramel color. Once it reaches caramel color, turn down the heat and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is a dark brown color. The darker the color, the more flavorful the gumbo.
Increase the heat back to medium and add the garlic, onions, celery and bell peppers to the roux. Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.
Add the oregano, Old Bay, bay leaves, thyme and cayenne. Mix well, then add the clam juice, water, green onions and parsley. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the shrimp, crab meat, oysters and their liquor (the juice in the pint with the oysters), then add the salt, pepper and some Tabasco sauce. Reduce the heat to as low as your cooktop will go and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent the flour from burning.
Remove from the heat and serve over cooked white rice.
Let Les Miles dine on Bentgrass while you enjoy this delicious dish!

Alligator Piquant

In honor of Bama’s game in the swamp tonight with the Florida Gators, here’s a recipe for Alligator Piquant. If you’ve never cooked Alligator, it does taste a lot like chicken. Alligator tail meat is available at finer grocery stores but it’s on the expensive side. Piquant sauce is a Cajun staple and in Louisiana they cook any variety of meats (rabbit, chicken, duck) and serve with a piquant sauce, so if you’re not up on trying alligator, try with one of the other meats.

  • 4# alligator tail meat (available at Publix if you’re a city dweller) or 4 pounds chicken, rabbit or duck, chopped
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 head celery, chopped
  • 3 cans Ro-Tel tomatoes
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 cups water
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1# Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 1/2 bunches green onions, sliced including tops
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
In a large, heavy pot (preferably a cast iron pot), heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux is the color of chocolate (can take up to 20 minutes to achieve this nice dark nutty smelling roux). Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Add the gator (or other meat) water, tomato sauce, Ro-Tel tomatoes, andouille sausage, cayenne pepper, salt and paprika. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and resembles a stew, making sure the meat is done. Add the 2 sticks of butter to the “stew” and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve over steamed white rice.