I had the honor to spend a few years in and around New Orleans, pronounced "Nawlins" by the way, in the late 80's early 90's. I came away with a great admiration for the area, the culture and especially the food. I was taught how to eat Mud Bugs by a young Tulane student. She showed me how break the tail from the body of the Crawfish and then "Suck the Head" before eating the mini-lobster meat hiding in the tail. We attacked the 3 foot high pile of crustaceans along with 200 of our newest Mardi Gras friends as we waited for the Crew Of Wrecks Parade to begin its winding journey, through the streets of the Crescent City. Covered in Crawfish Juice and Dixie Beer I had the Time of my life as I savored every sight, sound and smell during my first festival and what and education I got that night.
Being from the South and the Lowcountry I am no stranger to great Southern Cuisine. Fried chicken, barbecue (Mustard Sauce , Maurice Bessingers of course), rutabagas, collards, and shrimp and grits are preached in the kitchens of homes in Charleston and embedded in our collective psyche from the time were born as much as saying m'am or sir or holding the door for a lady.
One of the main differences between Cajun food and the rest of the south is the heat to which it is served. Now I'm not talking about temperature of the food as measured by a thermometer , but rather the quantity of pepper, tabasco sauce, or cayenne used in just about every dish, even the sweet tea seems to have a little kick. I learned over time not only to like, but grew to love and crave whats been called the cajun trinity, of garlic, onion and cayenne pepper. To the point where I have put hot sauce on potato salad.
Like the smugglers who brought back the first silk worms from China, or tobacco from the new world I managed to spirit away the recipe for what could be the very touchstone of cajun cooking, Blackened Seasoning. This is not for the faint of heart or those who think paprika is too spicy. My first encounter with this ethereal concoction was at K-Pauls when I ordered Blackened Redfish (Spot Tail Bass) and I immediately fell prostrate and gave myself heart and soul to its worship. While the seasoning gained fame on fish it is equally as good on beef and especially chicken. Now tempting the fates and risking reprisal from the cajun food police, I am now going to pass along this well guarded secret of the Creole Coast.
Real Blacken Seasoning
First you need an 8 ounce container with holes in the lid big enough to shake oregano through.
1. 2 Tablespoons of Paprika
2. 5 Teaspoons of Salt
3. 2 Teaspoons of Onion Powder
4. 2 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder
5. 2 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder
6. 2 Teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper
7. 1 1/2 Teaspoons of White Pepper
8. 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Black Pepper
9. 1 Teaspoon of Dried Thyme
10. 1 Teaspoon of Oregano
Shake well before using
HOW TO USE: Lightly coat meat with olive oil then cover,,,I mean COVER with seasoning until you can't see the color of the food. Cook,,,,,Grill, Hot Cast Iron Frying Pan, Bake In Oven. It doesn't matter it's all good. Great with New Potatoes, Red Rice, You name it.