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New Orleans is easily one of the food capitals of the United States. The city’s French, Creole, and Cajun roots shaped the flavours and food rituals of New Orleans cuisine. While visiting, don’t miss these staple dishes. And if you need help planning the ultimate New Orleans trip, take this tour with our friends at Collette!
In Cajun & Creole cooking, the “holy trinity” refers to onions, bell peppers (capsicum), and celery, which are combined to create the base of these New Orleans one-pot dishes:
Like a thick stew, etouffee combines the flavours of many ingredients, starting with the “holy trinity.” The other main step is making a dark roux - or sauce thickener - of oil and flour. Proteins are added, most typically crawfish and shrimp but often chicken and spicy andouille sausage, and this delicious, hearty, spicy, saucy Cajun dish is served over rice.
Very similar to etouffee, a gumbo starts with the “holy trinity.” However, Gumbo is eaten as a soup, rather than a sauce, frequently with rice on the side. Both will use meat, but gumbo relies more on vegetables like okra to help thicken it and build flavour layers.
Jambalaya relies on the “holy trinity,” but uses stock instead of a roux as its main sauce thickener. The Creole version will use tomatoes, while the Cajun version omits them. Both versions of this one-pot meal rely on protein to give layered flavour and texture, and anything from chicken to ham to seafood will do.
When it comes to NoLa sandwiches, more is more. These sandwiches are stuffed to the max, and each is a star in its own right.
The name Po’boy comes from a slang form of “poor boy.” The sandwich was first served during the country’s Great Depression, when many workers could not afford to pay for a meal. It’s made with New Orleans French bread, a creamy remoulade or mayonnaise, and a protein. Typically, the protein - most often shrimp, catfish, crawish, or oysters - are fried and blackened with Cajun seasoning.
Much like an Italian Submarine Sandwich, a muffaletta is layers upon layers of meats like capicola, salami, and mortadella. It’s then accompanied by provolone and olives, all to fit between slices of sesame-topped soft bread. It’s salty and savoury, and so very filling.
Sweets in New Orleans are as influenced by the city’s roots as are main dishes. These tasty treats are as sweet as Southern Charm itself.
Fried dough covered in sugar. Does it get better than that? This simple pastry is often a meal for visitors, and there’s nowhere as iconic to taste your first beignet than at Cafe du Monde. Sit down in the French Market at Cafe du Monde, order a serving of beignets and cafe au lait, and taste the love and history that goes into New Orleans cuisine.
Teetering on the verge of saccharine, pralines are confections made from a base of sugar and cream. Praline shops all across NoLa serve pralines with pecans or chocolate, but many have gotten inventive and downright creative with their ingredients.
Eat, drink, and laissez les bons temps rouler!
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