This post is more about my fascination with authentic and regional cuisine. Nothing irks me more when someone says oh lets have authentic Chinese, Indian, or Arabic food, because those are not true authentic foods. Chinese can be broken down into multiple cuisines such as Szechuan, Indian into Punjab, and Arabic into Lebanese/Iranian. So for me as a chef I believe it's extremely important to come up with dishes that may not be direct takes of these foods but honour their origins and authenticity. The example that will use today is the Po'boy, which is a New Orleans classic and regionally important dish. So when I was Chef at M********* we had to do an Jazz fest menu so I automatically thought New Orleans. However, like much of my style I like to take classics and put a spin, an honourable one, on it.
I will not go into details about the history of the Po'boy as it can be found quite briefly on wikipedia:
The Po'boy was created by a deli owner to help feed starving workers during a labour strike. However, as a chef of a casual fine dining restaurant one can see why I couldn't put the dish above on a menu, it wasn't refined enough. So I had to get my mind working (cup of coffee and a couple of cigarettes really get the culinary juices flowing for me who knows why) and I came up with a Po' boy slider. A slider was great for our tapas style menu and also allowed for a bit of refinement on my part, for my own sake though I had to stay true to the ingredients while making very slight alterations.
This is the recipe:
2 Jumbo Shrimp
2 Slider Buns
1 tbsp of creole seasoning (onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano leaves, dried sweet basil, dried thyme leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, celery seed, sweet paprika)
1 good tangy pickle
1 tbsp of creole mustard
1 bit of diced lettuce
Peel the shrimp and dust em with the creole seasoning and fry em quick in a pan with some clarified butter. Then take some more butter and toast the buns in the same pan. Assemble the sliders with some slices of the pickles, lettuce, and mustard. NEVER add tomato its a sin.
Anyways hope this post shows how chefs can honour the original version while putting a creative spin on things.