New Orleans cooking is a careful blending of many cultures. Long before the work Fusion became a culinary term in the 1970’s, kitchens in New Orleans has been borrowing elements of different cuisines. In Louisiana, Creole cooking is a blend of influences from French, Spanish, West African, Native American, Haitian, German, Italian, Chinese and more recently, Vietnamese cultures, along with influences of Southern United States cuisine.
Today, I want to share with you a couple of Creole Fusion dishes, Yakamein and Bruccoloni. These two great dishes shows the creativity and fusing of the Creole culture with Chinese and Italian influences. As my cooking more resembles Creole than Cajun cooking, these cultures, especially Italian, often creep into my recipes.
Yakemein is a Creole Chinese soup. No one knows the origin of this dish. One version is that it originated in New Orleans now extinct Chinatown, established by immigrants, who were building the railroads between Houston and New Orleans.In the mid 19th century, this Chinese noodle soup was adapted to local Creole and Chinese clientele.
1 pound Lean Beef, thinly sliced
2 quarts Beef Stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
2 pinches Cayenne
2 stalks Green Onions, chopped
1/2 pound dried Spaghetti, cooked
1 Boiled Egg per person
Using a 4 quart pot, heat the beef stock. Add the beef, cayenne, Creole seasoning, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until meat is tender (about 15 minutes). Adjust taste with salt and pepper if needed.
Put a small portion of pasta in serving bowls. Ladle the stock and meat over it. Garnish with green onions and boiled egg cut in half.
Bruccoloni is not a dish often found in restaurants. If you were to find this in a restaurant, I guarantee it is one of the best versions of Bruccoloni. Outside of restaurants, this Creole Italian dish is often found on a Sunday dinner table. If you want, you can also make this with veal. Either way, this stuffed dish is sure to please.
2 Beef Top Round Steaks, ¼ inch thick
1 Cup Italian Flavored Bread Crumbs
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
4 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 medium Onion, finely diced
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
Creole Seasoning to taste
½ cup Olive Oil
Quick Italian Red Sauce (recipe to follow) or any pasta sauce
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Place steaks on a cutting board, trim fat from edges. Pound steaks to 1/8 inch thick, taking care not to tear. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, beaten eggs, garlic and cheese. Spread mixture over steaks, leaving an inch border at long edges. Scatter onions and boiled eggs over breadcrumb mixture. Beginning at long edges, roll tightly, like a jelly roll. Tie securely with butcher’s string. Sprinkle Creole Seasoning over rolls.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet 12” skillet over medium heat. Add steak rolls, one at a time and brown on both sides. Place browned rolls in a 13x9” baking dish. Pour Quick Italian Red Sauce over top of meat rolls. Bake in preheated oven until the meat is fork tender, about 45 minutes. To serve, remove string and slice 1/2” thick slices. Serve with pasta, topping meat and pasta with sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Quick Italian Red Sauce
1 (29oz.) can Tomato Sauce
1 (6oz.) can Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon Butter
1 ½ tablespoons Garlic, chopped
¼ cup Onions, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Oregano
2 teaspoons Basil
1 teaspoon Parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons Sugar
Melt butter in saucepan. Over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in butter until the onions are soft about 3 minutes. Mix in the tomato sauce and tomato paste, making sure the paste does not remain in lumps. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust the sauce to your taste. Cook until warm.
I hope you have enjoyed today’s trip into the world of Creole Fusion cooking. I know I have enjoyed bringing it to you. I wonder what we could develop with a Creole Arkansas Fusion. Time to head to the kitchen.