Oyster Omelette Recipe

From Nola Cuisine Images – (reedited)

I made an Oyster Omelette for breakfast today, a Creole favorite. I used bacon and green onions in mine which sure didn’t hurt the flavor, because as we know from Angels On Horseback, Oysters and Bacon go together like Peas & Carrots. Here is the recipe:

Oyster Omelette Recipe

For the filling:

3 Slices Bacon, chopped and rendered
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
6 Oysters, shucked
2 Tbsp Green Onions
1 tsp Garlic
1 pinch of Cayenne

Drain off the fat from the rendered bacon. Add to 2 tsp of the fat to hot a 10″ skillet then add 1 Tbsp of the butter. When the butter is incorporated, add the Oysters, garlic, and green onions, saute until the edges of the Oysters curl, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and incorporate the remaining 2 Tbsp butter by shaking the pan. Season with a touch of Kosher salt & a pinch of Cayenne then set aside.

For the Omelette:

1 Tbsp Clarified Butter or Olive Oil
3 Extra Large Eggs
2 tsp Half & Half
Kosher Salt
2 tsp Unsalted Butter

Combine the eggs, half & half, and a healthy pinch of Kosher salt, whisk together.
Heat a 10″ skillet over medium heat, add the clarified butter, when very hot, add the egg mixture. Cook without stirring, but gently moving the omelette aside to allow the uncooked egg to run off. When still wet, flip, then immediately turn out onto a cutting board. Put the filling in the center, then fold the two sides over, plate up. I like to put some of my filling on top of the omelette as well, in addition to the butter sauce from the pan.

Makes 1 Omelette.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes!

File Gumbo Recipe

I finally got around to making a Fil&#233 Gumbo to take my pure Sassafras Fil&#233 powder for a test spin. I found that the flavor is much more subtle, and the thickening power is about 10 times that of the store bought. I’ve always felt that the store bought Fil&#233 always hijacks the flavor of my Gumbos, which means all of my hard work with seasoning and flavor are dashed with a dash of store bought Fil&#233. I like to serve my Fil&#233 at the table so my guests can add as much or as little as they like. Here is the recipe:

Fil&#233 Gumbo Recipe

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
4 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1 Cup Onions, diced
1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup Celery, diced
1 Cup Andouille, sliced or diced
1/2 Cup Tasso, diced
3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
8 Cups Shrimp or Seafood Stock
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
4 Chicken Thighs, boned cut into 1″ pieces, then seasoned liberally with Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce to taste
1 lb. Fresh Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Dozen Oysters, shucked
Kosher Salt to taste, if necessary
2 Tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions
Creole Boiled Rice
Fresh French Bread
Fil&#233 Powder at the table

Mix your onion, celery, and bell pepper together: The Holy Trinity.
Heat the oil in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook to make a milk chocolate Roux (making a Roux). Add the Andouille, 1 Tbsp of Seasoning, and 3/4 of the Holy Trinity, cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until the vegetables soften. Gradually whisk in the stock, then add the remaining seasoning, and Garlic. Bring to a Boil, then down to a simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and simmer until cooked through. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve add the shrimp, cook until done, then add the oysters and cook until the edges curl. Add the Worcestershire, Hot Sauce, and 1/2 of the Green Onions. Serve with Creole Boiled Rice, crusty French Bread, and a good cold beer (I like Dixie or Abita Amber).
Garnish with green onions, parsley, and Fil&#233 powder at the table.

* I prefer Chicken Thighs for my soups and Gumbos. It’s the misunderstood portion of the bird, which is fine by me because it keeps the price down. I get them bone in, then Cartel wrap the bones and stick them in the freezer for stock. I’m like a Vulture when it comes to bones for stocks, my freezer looks like the Catacombs (animals only of course).

This makes about 3-4 Main Course Servings

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes.

For more information on Fil&#233 see the following posts:

Homemade Fil&#233 Powder Recipe
Sassafras trees & FIl&#233 Powder
Fil&#233 Powder

Homemade Fil&#233 Powder

From Nola Cuisine

I finally made a small batch of homemade Fil&#233 Powder, and I can’t believe the difference between the true Fil&#233 and the store bought variety.

The Fil&#233 that I made smells subtle and fruity like coriander seeds, or as my wife said, “Fruit Loops.” It’s color as you can see, is army green, and I’m assuming that it’s thickening power is way more intense than the store bought, which I’ve noticed has zero thickening power at all, and has a flavor that can almost take over the flavor of your Gumbo.

The store bought Fil&#233 smells very woodsy, and you can detect some thyme and possibly some bay leaf in there, it’s color is tan. One that I saw recently contained Sage, Oregano, and Thyme, and no Sassafras at all. There are definately some good ones out there, but definately some really bad ones. For example, here is a picture of the two side by side, the store bought is in the background, my homemade is in the foreground:

From Nola Cuisine

The following is from the 1978 book Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz by Howard Mitcham:

The Story of Fil&#233

For hundreds of years the Choctaw Indians have had a settlement at Bayou Lacombe on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and they had a way of making Gumbo long before the white man and the black man arrived. They invented fil&#233 (pronounced feelay). The tender green leaves of the sassafras tree are gathered, dried, and ground to a powder. Only a few tablespoons of the powder will thicken a whole pot of Gumbo and give it a flavor that’s spicy and pleasant. The fil&#233 must always be added after the pot is removed from the fire. If allowed to boil, it becomes stringy and unpalatable. Okra and fil&#233 should never be used together in a Gumbo or it will be as thick as mud. The Creoles in New Orleans used fil&#233 only in the wintertime, when fresh okra was not available but many Cajuns prefer fil&#233 gumbo year-round. They pass a big bowl of fil&#233 around at the table, so that all the guests may take as much as they want.

The Indians also supplied dried bay leaves (laurel), an essential flavoring element in most Creole soups and stews. At the old French Market there were always several Choctaws sitting in the shade of the arcade, peddling their small caches of fil&#233 and dried bundles of bay leaves.

On several visits to Bayou Lacombe a few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet one of the last of those Indian fil&#233 makers. His name was Nick Ducre, and he was over eighty-five, very proud, wise and independent. He owned a few acres of very valuable land on the banks of the bayou. Rich folks had built up bayou estates all around him, but he clung to his land and kept it in a primitive state with plenty of game-coons, possums, squirrels, rabbits, and even a few deer. A great story teller, he told us much about the good old days in the early part of the century. Once a month he would take a schooner across the lake to New Orleans and sell his fil&#233 and bay leaves at the market at the New Basin Canal. He would sell out in one day, buy himself a pint of whiskey, and sail for home that night, a happy Indian.

At our last parting Nick gave me a sample jar of his homemade fil&#233, and I made a pot of gumbo with part of it. Because I didn’t realize just how strong it was, I overdid it. That gumbo got so thick, the stirring spoon stood upright in it. I have saved the rest of that fil&#233 as a memento of one of the best Indians I ever knew.

So whenever you eat gumbo fil&#233, give a thought to the almost vanished Choctaws of Lacombe. fil&#233 of a commercial grade can be purchased at any grocery store in New Orleans and in the Cajun country, but the homemade kind is stronger and tastier. If you can’t find an Indian source, you can make it yourself by pounding dried sassafras leaves with pestle and mortar. And while you’re at it, pound up a few bay leaves for a terrific flavoring element.

The Choctaws and their Fil&#233 are long gone from the French Market, which is now little more than a tourist trap to purchase Mardi Gras beads, T-shirts, and a million varieties of hot sauce. It’s still a must stop though, if just to feel the history of the old French Market.

Here is a quote from Leah Chase regarding Fil&#233 from the 1978 publication Creole Feast by Nathaniel Burton & Rudy Lombard:

I don’t buy the fil&#233 powder for my gumbo off the shelves. My daddy makes it for me. He grinds it himself and it is perfect because it is pure sassafras. He has sassafras trees and he dries the leaves. The fil&#233 from a store will have maybe a little bay leaf in it and it’s much weaker. Mine is pure sassafras, nothing mixed in, and it’s always fresh and strong. Daddy sends it to me in little mayonnaise bottles.

From Nola Cuisine

How to make homemade Fil&#233 Powder

Locate a Sassafras tree and take some branches containing the younger, more tender leaves.

From Nola Cuisine

Hang the branches outside to dry (preferably out of the direct sun) for about one week.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

When the leaves are completely dry, remove the leaves from the stems and pulverize very well in a mortar and pestle, or an electric coffee grinder as I did.

Pass the powder through a very fine sieve, or a metal coned coffee filter as I did. It was a painstaking process as the mesh was too fine, but it worked to remove all of the little twigs, and tough pieces.

Store in an airtight container and keep out of the sunlight.

I feel a Fil&#233 Gumbo in Nola Cuisine’s very near future, I will keep you posted.

**Update** I recently noticed a container of Tony Chachere’s File powder at the store and picked some up. It’s the real deal, pure Sassafras, just like my homemade. Highly recommended!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Crawfish & Tasso Jambalaya

From Nola Cuisine

I made Jambalaya for dinner tonight and it really hit the spot, it’s one of my favorite one pot meals. Here I used Crawfish and my homemade Tasso which added a nice smoky flavor. You could easily substitute a good quality ham for the Tasso, and Shrimp for the Crawfish in this recipe.
I also used Creole Sauce in this recipe which is my absolute favorite sauce in the wide world, it’s so versatile. Read my post on Uses for Creole Sauce.
This was truly one of the tastiest Jambalayas that I’ve made, or had for that matter.

Crawfish & Tasso Jambalaya

3 Tbsp Bacon drippings, Lard, or Butter
1/2 Cup Tasso, diced
1/2 Cup Onion, diced
1/4 Cup Celery, diced
1/4 Cup Green Bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp Garlic Minced
1/2 Cup Fresh Tomatoes, diced
1 Cup of Converted White Rice (I use Uncle Ben’s)
1 1/4 Cup Seafood Stock or Chicken Stock
8 oz. Crawfish Tails
1 Bay Leaf
A bundle of fresh Thyme, tied together with butcher’s twine
1 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1/2 Cup Creole Sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce, to taste
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
Green Onions and Parsley

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat your fat of choice over medium high heat in a cast iron dutch oven. Add the Tasso and saute for about two minutes, add the holy trinity and the garlic, cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice.
When the rice has absorbed some of the fat & liquid, add the stock, bay leaf, Thyme, Creole seasoning, Creole sauce, and the Worcestershire. Add Kosher salt and black pepper to the liquid; it should be well seasoned to make the finished rice taste as such.
Add the crawfish tail meat.

Place in the oven, with a tight fitting lid, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Plate with a 1/2 cup of Creole Sauce, if desired. Top with sliced Green Onions, and minced Parsley.

Serves 2-3

More Jambalaya recipes on this site:

Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya
Shrimp & Chicken Jambalaya

Be Sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes!