I’ve eaten a lot of delicious things in New Orleans over the span of my four visits but I never would have guessed coleslaw would have left such an impact.
On Sunday, prior to taking off for home in the afternoon, we had time for one more breakfast. And by breakfast, I mean, going to Mothers and devouring some po’ boys and some red beans and rice. Except….Damn you line wrapped around the corner! And trust me, I know the line tends to move but there was a bigger issue at hand. With the early stages of a hangover begging to be nipped in the bud by some grub, we abandoned ship and meandered further down Tchoupitoulas for the hopes of delicious barbeque.
Luckily the memory of said barbeque joint across from Cochon had not been lost in the madness of the weekend because it absolutely hit the spot. A brisket and pulled pork plate sounded right up my alley and there’s nothing I like more than a bit of cold crispy coleslaw to break up the richness of slow cooked meat. But this was not just any regular old coleslaw. It was packed with flavor. It was creamy without an absurdity of mayo. It was unique in a way that I couldn’t pinpoint initially. But then it hit me. A tangy sweetness coming from their homemade bbq sauce and a real bite and richness coming from some blue cheese! Simple and sorta brilliant! So when I was meandering home from Grand Central yesterday, much like we meandered down Tchoupitoulas, it was the coleslaw that popped into my head. And what better pairing for the coleslaw than some red beans and shrimp to really bring the meal together.
For my slaw, I decided to nix the bbq sauce in favor of some fresh squeezed orange juice. This helped lighten the dressing while maintaining that necessary sweetness. But no matter how you choose to make this blue cheese dressing I promise you, the mayo is best left in the fridge. Danish blue cheese, the orange juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, and paprika were all the food processor needed to produce this unbelievable dressing. And it would be good on anything!
As for my beans, I wanted to impart that smoky bbq flavor that we all love but wasn’t too interested in doctoring up some canned baked beans. Instead I sautéed scallions, garlic, and chopped dried dates as a base for the red beans that absorbed all of the delicious flavor as they simmered in a bit of red wine. With a squeeze of that same orange juice and some dried herbs and spices these beans came out amazing and took 15 minutes.
With some simple sautéed shrimp as the last component of this meal, the only thing that was missing was a place to eat it all outdoors! Okay, maybe two things. I could have used a Pat O’brien’s Hurricane!