Being 5 years since hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been on my mind lately. Fortunately for me, when the catastrophic storm hit I no longer resided there, but like many New Orleans expats I grieved for the city from a physical distance as if I were still there. I will always have a special place in my heart for the people, culture and cuisine of New Orleans. I am elated to watch the Big Easys progress of restoring itself and once again becoming a destination for epicureans and party time thrill seekers alike. Though its recovery still has a long way to go, New Orleans tenacity and Bohemian spirit will persevere, of this I have no doubt.
I began my culinary career in The Crescent City, so Cajun- and Creole- influenced dishes and ingredients are peppered throughout the many menus that I have created in my 15 years of cooking. With corn being in season I decided to revisit a side dish recipe I learned in New Orleans called maque choux (pronounced "mock shoe"). Believed to be a combination of Acadian French (Cajun) and Native American in origin, this stewed vegetable dish with bacon and cream is hearty and rustic and makes for a great accompaniment to seafood. I like to serve it with blackened shrimp (preferably Gulf shrimp) but it pairs well with any other fish or shellfish.