New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
by Ralph Brennan
Maque-choux may be the oldest dish in the entirety of Louisiana-Creole cookery. The word itself is believed to have originated with the local Indians, who in the early 1700s introduced the newly arrived French colonists to their indigenous vegetables, game and seafood.
The French settlers soon developed a taste for sweet corn, in such Native-American dishes as sagamite, a kind of hominy or corn porridge to which fish or meat was often added.
Another Indian contribution was maque-choux, which, according to at least one source, was originally a stew of corn and onions. Over the decades Creole cooks of New Orleans occasionally improvised with additions such as chopped sweet pepper, tomato or celery, and other seasonings and spices.
As a side dish, maque-choux can be a delightful substitute for plain corn.
For 6 servings
Note: The recipe may be prepared a dayin advance.
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 medium-sized garlic cloves garlic, sliced thin
• 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
• 1/2 cup finely chopped green sweet peppers
• 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
• 1 medium-size Creole* tomato, chopped
• 4 cups fresh sweet corn, preferably yellow, cut from about 5 large cobs
• 1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*South Louisiana's Creole tomatoes are preferred for this recipe, although other good, peak-of-season regional varieties can be used.
1. Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a heavy 3-quart, nonreactive saucepan. Add the garlic and cook until it turns just golden, 20 to 30 seconds.
2. Add the onions, sweet peppers and celery and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the tomatoes and corn, mixing thoroughly, and cook for five minutes.
4. Stir in the stock, thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serving Suggestion: Serve warm or, if made ahead, let cool, then cover and refrigerate until time to reheat for serving.