CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN by Paul Prudhomme

CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

There are about a million Louisiana cookbooks, many of them dubiously associated with the names of New Orleans eateries and few worth the time of day. This one--the work of a highly regarded New Orleans restaurateur and the record of one firmly personal approach to Cajun/Creole food--is bound to be controversial. There are many nothing-succeeds-like-excess assemblages of opulent ""gourmet"" ingredients--e.g., oyster soup with Bric, a pint of heavy cream, and optional champagne, or a veal-oyster-artichoke combo served over spaghetti. Simply cooked vegetables and seafood are conspicuous by their absence, and even hush puppies are liberally doused with herbs and garlic. At the same time, one can't miss the sense of gusto and invention in these overseasoned extravaganzas: breaded deep-fried eggplant halves stuffed with rabbit fricassee; calves' liver fried in a wheat-germ coating; a ""Cajun Bubble and Squeak"" consisting of beef-hash patties served with sautÉed cabbage and poached eggs and topped with oysters and New Orleans smoked ham in cream sauce. The approach to techniques, ingredients, and flavor combinations contains elements of both junkiness and honest invention. (Prudhomme adjusts the smoking point of sautÉeing fats by using a mixture of oil, butter, and margarine; the wide variation in the composition of different margarines is not mentioned. The brown roux is made by a hurry-up method that demands trained instant reflexes; onions and garlic are generally used in sauces along with onion and garlic powder.) Still, much of Prudhomme's approach will be of real technical interest to skilled cooks with some knowledge of the context. And, given the publicity, others will at least want to have a look.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1984
Publisher: Morrow