Broussard’s restaurant at 819 Conti Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans is one of the grand dames of Creole cuisine. But its history can be traced back to Acadiana.
The Broussard family began in Louisiana with the arrival of Acadian hero Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, who led the Acadian resistance against the English in Nova Scotia during the Acadian exile beginning in 1755. When Broussard arrived in Louisiana, he settled near Lafayette.
Descendants Joseph Cesar Broussard and his brother Robert, born in Loreauville, traveled to New Orleans to enter the restaurant business with Joseph training under Chef Mornay Voiron of Paris for a time. When Joseph married Rosalie Borello, her parents gifted the couple use of the 819 Conti St. property as a wedding gift. Joseph and Rosalie Broussard opened Broussard’s in 1920.
The elegant restaurant owns an interesting history, including a visit by Pope John Paul II. The restaurant is operated today by the Preuss family.
Pelican Publishing honors the almost 100 years of Broussard history with a lovely cookbook, “Broussard’s Restaurant and Courtyard Cookbook,” filled with both history of the restaurant — its building dating back to around 1834 — as well as exquisite recipes and beautiful photographs. The book is written by Ann Benoit and the Preuss family with a foreword by Tom Fitzmorris.
Here’s a sample recipe, the one served to Pope John Paul II when he visited New Orleans:
2 tablespoons fresh butter
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 tablespoon minced French shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 lemon, juiced
1 3/4 cups Béchamel sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill
1 1/2 pounds boiled crawfish tails
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
6 boiled crawfish tails
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, shallots and garlic and sauté until transparent, but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add wine and lemon juice and reduce by half. Add Béchamel sauce and reduce by one-third. Add crawfish and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Put in ramekins, top with Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake in oven until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Garnish with crawfish and serve immediately.
Note: Broussard’s is open for Mother’s Day Brunch from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 13, in the restaurant and courtyard. For reservations, call (504) 581-3866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memphis natives Paul and Angela Knipple tour the South but look at global traditions in their latest book, “The World in a Skillet: A Food Lover’s Tour of the New American South.” Traditional cuisine is included, naturally, such as calas or sweetened rice cakes, offered by Poppy Tucker of New Orleans and crawfish étouffée by Jim Romero of Coteau. But the majority of the book looks at the influence of immigrants to the South: Vietnamese pickled mustard greens, Little Toyko tuna tartare or kibbeh or Lebanese-style meat pies, to name but a few. The fascinating book contains 50 new recipes, in addition to histories of immigrants — both old and new — and their experiences merging with Southern traditions. You can read a good profile of the couple at http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/apr/18/dishing-with-paul-and-angela-knipple/.
Pelican Publishing continues its series on New Orleans cuisine with “New Orleans Classic Brunches” by Kit Wohl. This new edition features the best in New Orleans brunch cuisine, from eggs Hussarde and turtle soup to grillades and grits and pain perdue bananas Foster. In addition, there are numerous drink recipes.
Continuing the breakfast-brunch theme is a lovely cookbook from Chronicle Books titled “Crêpes: 50 Savory and Sweet Recipes” by Martha Holmberg. The author explains basic crepe recipes, with tips on equipment, cooking and ingredients, then delivers mouth-watering recipes that range from savory to sweet.
A handy cookbook for those with allergies is “Allergy-Friendly Food for Families” from the editors of Kiwi, a bimonthly magazine that looks at raising families with natural and organic foods. The cookbook offers 120 gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free and soy-free recipes.
If you want to teach your kids ways to help choose healthy foods, there are numerous farmer’s markets in Lafayette. Leslie Jonath and Ethel Brennan have written “At the Farmers’ Market with Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands” (Chronicle Books). This charming book showcases what delectable, healthy foods you can purchase from farmers but also provides wonderful ways to prepare them.
For those who want to take the fight for healthier food further, “Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health” (Penguin) offers great instruction on how to demand for better meals in public schools. The book is written by Amy Kalafa, producer of the award-winning film, “Two Angry Moms: Fighting for the Health of America’s Children.”
Angela Shelf Medearis aka TV’s “Kitchen Diva,” provides 150 healthy recipes for those concerned with sugar intake in “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook” (Andrews McMeel). These are not recipes leaving you wanting, I might add; the book is filled with innovative dishes for those concerned with diabetes or interesting in living a more healthy life.
Here’s one to try:
Jerk Chicken Salad with Tropical Fruit Dressing
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh squeezed pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
2 teaspoons stevia granulated sweetener or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon grated orange or lime zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice or lime juice
1/4 cup no-sugar-added apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons stevia granulated sweetener or agave syrup
2 to 3 tablespoons habanero hot sauce (or your preference)
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, including green parts, chopped
4 (4-ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil cooking spray
1 (3- to 6-ounce) bag prewashed mixed salad greens
1 1/2 cups chopped or shredded radicchio
8 figs, quartered, or 12 green or purple seedless grapes, halved
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks in natural juices
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Directions: To make the dressing, mix together dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate. To make the jerk marinade, mix together vinegar, sweetener, hot sauce, allspice, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper and green onions in a small bowl until well blended. Spray the chicken with the olive oil cooking spray. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the jerk seasoning marinade over the chicken and press and shake the bag until all the pieces are thoroughly coated. Press out any air, seal the bag, and place it in a baking pan to prevent leaks. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Discard the marinade and allow the chicken to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Spray a large skillet with the olive oil cooking spray and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the chicken for about 6 minutes, on each side, or until browned and no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the skillet, and let it rest for 6 to 7 minutes. Thinly slice each chicken breast. Toss together the greens, radicchio, figs or grapes and pineapple. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Arrange the warm chicken slices on top of each salad. Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp. of the tropical fruit dressing. Reserve extra dressing for other salads. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if desired. Serves 4.