I was in New Orleans in the mid 1980’s and had the privilege of staying in the French Quarter. I fell immediately in love with the quaintness, the architecture, the jazz and the food. Cajun cuisine is a style of cooking named for the French speaking people who came from Canada to settle in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. Its style is rustic, as it incorporates locally available ingredients and a simple preparation, much like Italian Peasant cooking. I enjoyed the food of New Orleans and sampled staples of the City- everything from creole to benigets and chicory coffee at the famous Cafe du Monde. I was recently inspired to recreate one of the meals I enjoyed there and so my Bayou Brunch was created. Truth be told, it really does take a lot for me to be impressed by myself, but this meal did it for me today, and I want to share it with you. Brunch included poached farm fresh eggs on a bed of sautéed cabbage and home fries, drizzled with a Cajun hollandaise sauce and a side of carmelized bacon. The meal was finished with hot, homemade benigets and chicory coffee from the famed Cafe du Monde. So in honor of Mardi Gras season, I bring you my Brunch on the Bayou...
Cube golden potatoes and spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until mostly cooked. Meanwhile, dice one large onion and sauté in cast iron skillet with butter until half cooked. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper and smoked paprika. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are crispy.
Slice half head of Savoy cabbage and sauté in large frying pan with butter and a dash of water. Season with salt and pepper and paprika. Line serving plates with cooked cabbage and put home fries in the middle. Top with poached eggs and drizzle with hollandaise.
2 egg yolks
1/4 t salt
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
In a tall and narrow cup or vessel that would fit the head of an immersion blender, add egg, lemon juice, salt, paprika and cayenne. Blend egg mixture with immersion blender. Stream in hot butter a little at a time, letting the butter cook the eggs slightly. Blend until sauce is light and fluffy and butter is incorporated. If sauce is too thick, add a few teaspoons of water to loosen it before serving.
Line rack on baking sheet with 1 lb. applewood smoked bacon in single layer. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar, pinch of cayenne pepper and drizzle with maple syrup. Chopped pecans optional. Bake at 350 degrees until crispy, about 45 minutes.