How To Use New Orleans Style Cooking To Save Calories

If you know the right tricks, cooking can be a great way to gain control of your calorie consumption. Here in New Orleans we can make just about anything taste great, and healthy foods are no exception. Check out this list of calorie conscious swaps:

Crawfish>Andouille
For three ounces of Andouille sausage you get a whopping 11 grams of fat. However,
the same three ounces of crawfish contain less than a single gram of fat. Many recipes come in both seafood and meat versions like gumbo, which can be made with crawfish or with Andouille. Skip the sausage and opt for the leaner shellfish!

Creole Mustard
Everyone loves a good condiment, but unfortunately not all condiments are made equal. Ketchup is high in sugar and mayonnaise is about 75% fat. Try Zatarain’s Creole Mustard (>1g fat per serving!) for a New Orleans recipe that’s been around since the late 1800’s.

Cajun Spices
“Slap YA Mama” seasoning can make just about any dish better, so why not use it to spice up an otherwise boring low fat/low calorie food? Use it as a rub on fish, a seasoning on cooked vegetables, or an extra kick in your broth-based soup. Seasonings are a wonderful alternative to high fat flavor-fillers like oil or butter.

 

Oil-Free Roux
Make a one-ingredient roux from flour and save yourself 2/3 of the calories of regular oil-based roux! Here is a recipe from Southern Cuisine Blog:

Ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour

Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. Spread flour evenly across the bottom of a 15-inch cast iron skillet
    3. Bake, stirring occasionally for approximately 1 hour
    4. Make sure to stir well around the edges of the skillet so the flour does not scorch.
    5. Cook Flour until the light or dark color is achieved depending on the purpose of the roux. The roux will become darker when liquid is added
    6. When the desired color is reached, cool on a large cookie sheet, stirring occasionally
    7. Store in a sealed jar for future use. 1 cup of oil-less roux will thicken 11/2 quarts of stock to a perfect gumbo consistency

History of the well-known Cajun-Creole dish, Crawfish étouffée.

Since the Crawfish season is upon us, I will share a bit of history behind the crawfish étouffée dish!

Crawfish étouffée was created in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Breaux Bridge is in Acadiana, which locals refer to as “Cajun Country.” The restaurants of Breaux Bridge were the first to offer crawfish openly on their menus, and are well-known for crawfish farming and cooking. In 1959, the Louisiana legislature officially designated Breaux Bridge as “la capitale mondiale de l’ecrevisse” or “the crawfish capital of the world”.

Étouffée (pronounced eh-too-fay) comes from the French word étouffer, which means to smother. This luscious dish starts with a roux, just like Creole Gumbo.

Browning butter or oil and flour together on a low heat makes a creole roux. The roux used for étouffée is a brownish-orange color, which is much lighter than a gumbo roux. This lighter roux will give the dish a completely different taste than gumbo, and has a thicker consistency than gumbo.

Like many Louisiana dishes have the holy trinity (onions, green peppers and celery). It is usually seasoned with Cajun spices, green onions, garlic, parsley, and a rich shrimp stock. The best way to describe the dish is a thick Cajun stew full of delicious, plump crawfish (or shrimp, depending on the season). Crawfish étouffée is usually served hot over Creole boiled rice.

Which do you prefer? Cajun or Creole étouffée?