Let The Bon Ton Cafe Roll!

When I was a junior in college, I took an elective course called “Survey of Jazz,” taught by my sorority big sister’s father, from whom I also took Music 101 as a freshman (required for education majors). Part of the course was an optional trip to New Orleans during the French Quarter Festival, where live jazz, parades, and other fun activities took place all day and much of the night. The professor requested we all meet for dinner one night at The Bon Ton Cafe, a historic restaurant in the central business district just off famous Canal Street. This was the first place I ever ate crawfish etouffee, which is still one of my favorite seafood dishes. The Bon Ton’s version of this well-known Cajun dish is made in the traditional way, with a butter-onion roux rather than the flour roux commonly used for other Cajun and Creole dishes. This year, instead of going to our favorite Italian restaurant for our anniversary (where my favorite dish also includes crawfish), I decided to cook at home and try my hand at cooking etouffee as well as The Bon Ton’s bread pudding and their salad dressing. Laissez le Bon Ton roulez!

Crawfish Etouffee:

  • 12-16 oz crawfish tails, peeled
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in butter until very soft and creamy. Add crawfish and seasonings and heat until done, about 15 minutes. Serve over white rice.

Salad Dressing:

  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp creole mustard
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients until smooth.

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf French (or similar firm white) bread
  • 3-4 cups milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup raisins (optional because, yuck)
  • 3 eggs

Tear or cube bread into large bowl and pour over enough milk to moisten. Stir in remaining ingredients and spoon into pan coated with butter or margarine. Bake at 350 50-60 minutes until firm. Serve with whiskey sauce below:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • whiskey to taste

Heat butter and sugar until melted and smooth, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey. Pour over servings of pudding.


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