Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday is here!

I don't know how vegans eat in New Orleans. The one and only time I visited there I was not even vegetarian so the town was literally my oyster, so to speak. But I can point y'all to a vegan cookbook which has some great recipes if you're planning your own Mardi Gras bash. Alicia Simpson's "Vegan Celebrations" has a great chapter on New Orleans dishes, to include a fabulous recipe she calls "nawfish etoufee" (nawfish as opposed to crawfish).

I made the nawfish dish last night and it was delicious but labor intensive in that like many N'Awlins dishes, you need to make a roux which always requires some serious stirring and standing time. The other problem may be finding and affording the key ingredient--lobster mushrooms. They are not cheap and they are hard to come by in stores. I have never found them fresh and only discovered the dried ones in a My Organic Market (MOM). A .05 ounce cost $5.99 (you read that right, a point oh five ounce! On line you can order lobster mushrooms from gourmet websites (Amazon sells them at $32.00 for half a pound.) Why use these froufrou 'shrooms? For one thing, they are lobster-red, chewy like lobster meat. The more critical characteristic is its seafood-like flavor. Don't worry--it's a very subtle flavor, no overwhelmingly fishy taste. This dish I assure you is worth the work and expense--but I would definitely reserve it for special occasions like Mardi Gras.

So come on, vegans! Do your homework, grab some beads and as they say in Louisiana, "laissez les bon temps rouler!"

The Hoppy Vegan

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