The image of New Orleans’ vibrant charm reminds me of the dazzling Caribbean Sun with beautiful mulatto women walking coquettishly in colorful sun dresses by the turquoise water. In spite of having to rebuild large swathes of the city after hurricane Katrina, locals still seem to “let the good times roll” (Laissez le bon temps rouler, in French) with high spirit. Every street corner is filled with the sweet melodies of blues, jazz or rock and the alluring aromas of Cajun foods. One of the most memorable things about New Orleans for me was watching people throwing strings of beads down on beautiful strollers from the cast-iron balconies of Bourbon Street. If I were there and decided to throw strings of beads on the most impressive dish in New Orleans, they would land on “Maque Choux Corn”. It’s a summer Cajun dish made with fresh corn, green bell pepper, tomato and a local seasoning mix. It’s a tasty side dish perfect for your 4th of July weekend BBQ.
To make it, first scrape corn kernels from 8 ears of corn and place them in a bowl. In a big cast iron pot, heat some 7th taste ancho chili olive oil and sauté ½ sweet onion (chopped), ½ green bell pepper (chopped), 1 clove garlic (crushed) and 1 fresh tomato (chopped). Then, add the corn kernels to the pot and season it with 1 teaspoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir well and and simmer with the cover about 20-30 minutes until the corns turn tender.
This braised corn, tomato and pepper dish, a fusion food originated in New Orleans under the influence of French Acadians and Native Americans, is so simple yet so good! The sweet, buttery, peppery taste is as gentle and harmonious as New Orleans’ sweet jazz melodies filling the narrow French alleys in the moonlight. It will melt in your mouth like butter, while perfectly accompanying your summer BBQ. Enjoy the recipe and happy cooking on the 4th of July!