• Tommy Centola

Switching it up in the kitchen

Last time, I shared with you some of my seasoning blends. As I said, there are many different blends on the supermarket shelves. The first one that comes to mind is Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning. In my opinion, this seasoning blend is the original one. His family has carried on his spirit, with his grandson now running the company.

Tony was born in Opelousas, Louisiana. He first worked as a traveling drug salesman, which he retired from at age 50. He then sold life insurance and retired again at age 65. Never one to rest on his laurels, Tony turned to his passion of cooking.

In 1972, Tony published his first cookbook, Cajun Country Cookbook. In this book included the recipe for what he built his company on, his Creole Seasoning. It is from this book that I have found today’s recipes, Tony’s Crabmeat Casserole, Barbecued Fish, and Buttermilk Pie. I hope that you enjoy them.

The most common species of crabmeat found in the south is the Blue Crab. In this recipe, you can use either lump or claw crabmeat. The lump makes a better visual presentation, while the claw meat gives a more pronounced crab flavor. Either way, this casserole is sure to please your entire family.

Tony’s Crabmeat Casserole

2 pounds crabmeat

6 green onions and tops, chopped

4 pods garlic, chopped

4 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1 stick oleo (margarine)

Half & half cream

Black pepper

2 tablespoons minced green pepper

1 teaspoon celery salt

8 slices toast

Bread crumbs

2 eggs

Tony’s Creole Seasoning to taste

Sauté chopped green onions and tops, garlic, parsley, green peppers in one stick oleo in a covered pan until soft. Add celery salt. Roll toast in breadcrumbs and pull into small pieces and mix well with above. Add 2 well-beaten eggs. Add crabmeat and enough Half & Half cream to moisten. Add Tony’s Creole Seasoning to taste. Cover with buttered breadcrumbs and bake in two buttered 1 1/2-quart casserole dishes for 30 minutes at 375℉, uncovered.

With warmer months approaching, it’s time for a recipe for the grill. With plenty of fish available in the waters around and in Louisiana, it makes a prefect protein to barbecue. The foil packet allows the fish to retain its moisture. The flavors are straight from the Bayou.

Barbecued Fish

4- pound red snapper or bass

1 stick margarine

3 tablespoons grated onions

1 tablespoon grated green bell pepper

2 tablespoons minced parsley

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Louisiana Red Hot Sauce

2 lemons, sliced

Tony’s Creole Seasoning or salt & pepper

Melt margarine in a saucepan. Add all other ingredients, except the fish, stir well to mix. Place snapper on a sheet of heavy foil and pour sauce over fish. Seal foil making sure there is no leakage. Place on a grill, with a hood, if possible. Turn every 30 minutes, being careful not to tear the foil. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from foil and place on grill for 10 minutes. Turn and cook another 10 minutes basting with sauce.

I wanted to include a dessert from Tony’s Cajun Country Cookbook. Buttermilk Pie is the first one in the dessert section. This traditional Southern dessert is very versatile. It can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature.

Buttermilk Pie

1 pie crust, 9-inch (unbaked)

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon soda (baking)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup buttermilk

Beat eggs. Add sugar, cornstarch and salt, and beat one minute. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 400℉ for 10 minutes. Lower oven to 350℉ and continue baking for 20-30 minutes until firm.

I hope you have enjoyed a look through one of the many cookbooks in my collection. Next time, I will be sharing from another collection. This one is from the original Cajun chef. I’m not talking about Paul Prudhomme.

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