Alligator sauce piquant(e) (1985)

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ALLIGATOR SAUCE--750 Google hits, 70 Google Groups hits
GATOR SAUCE--319 Google hits, 34 Google Groups hits
ALLIGATOR SAUCE PIQUANTE--631 Google hits, 32 Google Groups hits
ALLIGATOR SAUCE PIQUANT--572 Google hits, 26 Google Groups hits

  "Alligator sauce" is not in the OED, but then you knew that.  I have no idea what the OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN FOOD AND DRINK will have, but it's go to have it.
  I've seen "alligator sauce piquant(e)" on New York City menus--The Delta Grill, for example.  There are no "alligator sauce" Newspaperarchive hits, but then again, Newspaperarchive doesn't have a New Orleans newspaper.
  Growing up as I did in the New York City area, my mother never served me "alligator sauce piquant."  We were deprived.

Re: Can you eat crocodiles (rather than vice versa)?
... Cut into chunks. Then follow any recipe for rabbit or shark. Last time we had gator,
we made alligator sauce picquant. Alligator creole is very good also. ... - Aug 7, 1990 by Carol Miller-Tutzauer - View Thread (10 articles)

Gumbo and All That Jazz; In New Orleans, the Annual Festival of America's Musical Heritage New Orleans Jazzfest
By Steve Pond Special to The Washington Post. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: May 5, 1986. p. B1 (2 pages):
Pg. B4, col. 1:
   And there's certainly no other festival that allows you to listen to all that music while eating red beans and rice or crawfish pie or gumbo or Creole stuffed crabs or alligator sauce piquant.

Cool Jazz, Hot Jambalaya In New Orleans; Plus rock, zydeco, Cajun and gospel
By JASON BERRY. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Apr 17, 1988. p. XX8 (2 pages):
Second page:
  In a city renowned for good food, there is enough served in booths at the track to feed an army of Democrats, Republicans, and closet monarchists combined.  Among the specialties: gumbo, jambalaya, alligator sauce piquante, stewed rabbit, shrimp au gratin, oyster Rockefeller bique, crawfish etouffe, red beans and rice and oyster po-boys.   Portions will run from $1 to $4.

Dillard slates food fest
259 words
14 February 1985
The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate
(Copyright 1985 by Capital City Press)

American soul, Italian, Spanish, Creole, Nigerian, Chinese, German and Caribbean dishes are among the foods that will be offered at the Dillard University Auxiliary's fifth annual International Food Festival Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dent Hall, the home of the Blue Devils and Devilettes, on the university campus.

Basketball will be forgotten and the gymnasium area will be transformed with backdrops, decorations and the flags of foreign countries to an international atmosphere. And, the "gourmet chefs" will wear matching costumes and dress of their country whose dish they had prepared.

Among the assorted international dishes is what Dr. A. B. Assenson calls "Nigerian Eqwusi Foup," a delicious dish that all will enjoy; Dr. Eddie Jordan's "Pigeon Peas, Stewed Crabs and Bone Soup"; Dr. Yvonne Ochillo's Caribbean Table: Peas and Rice, Curried Chicken, and Mrs. Rebecca Washington's "Alligator Sauce Piquante and Stuffed Peppers" are among other popular dishes.

Leo Mullen
Special to The News
944 words
12 May 1985
The Dallas Morning News
(Copyright 1985)
Destrehan's Cafe Jean Noel, a converted slaves' cabin, serves such Creole delights as jambalaya, gumbo, alligator sauce piquant and pecan pie.

Restaurant chefs cook for hospital patients
1,161 words
13 February 1986
The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate
(Copyright 1986 by Capital City Press)

Visitors to the Woman's Hospital cafeteria and employees who dine there for lunch could select entrees prepared by chefs from three Baton Rouge restaurants on Monday and two days last week.

The chefs each prepared one of his own specialties, incorporating the finest in culinary techniques while keeping in mind the hospital's dietary and budgetary restrictions. They cooked in the hospital cafeteria while staff members observed, Jan Stewart, director of nutrition and food services, said.

Invited for the first Visiting Chef Program at Woman's Hospital were Chef Michael Mayeaux of Juban's, Chef Les Frey of Prince Murat Hotel, and Jeff Jeansonne of Creole Kitchen at Catfish Town.

"Asking the chefs to visit us is part of our ongoing commitment to quality," Stewart said. "We have a captive audience in our hospital employees who have 30-minutes for lunch, not enough time to eat elsewhere."

Cafeteria employees observed the chefs at work. "Each day 1,000 or more people dine at the hospital," Rightor Cobb, food production manager, said. "That number includes the patients and the people who eat in our cafeteria. We thought the chefs would add a little excitement to our cafeteria line, plus show us some new techniques we can incorporate into food preparation for our patients."

Chef Mayeaux on Monday prepared Poached Chicken Breasts with Julienne Vegetables (see recipe). "This was a budget thing with just a little bit of cream. I made the sauce by a reduction of the liquids and the addition of fresh herbs."

"For the past five years I've had an herb garden wherever I work _ on the roof of a building, in a flower bed outside the kitchen door _ fresh herbs, especially basil, are wonderful to use."

He said the thyme and bay leaf he used in the entree prepared at the hospital enhanced the flavor of the chicken.

Relatively new at Juban's, Mayeaux is a native of New Orleans and has worked at both Chalet Brandt and the City Club in Baton Rouge. A graduate of the Culinary Arts Institute, he studied restaurant and hotel management at Cornell University. He worked in Paris for a year and later with some well-known chefs in New Orleans.

Preparing Red Fish Stuffed with Lobster and Crab was Frey, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, who has worked in the United States for the past 25 years. He studied at the Scottish Hotel College and the Milwaukee Institute of Technology, where he majored in hotel and restaurant management.

Serving large crowds as he often does at the hotel is nothing new to Frey, who formerly was in the catering business. "I prepared food for weddings, confirmations and other events," he said. "I'm accustomed to big crowds.

"Hotel banquet food can't be compared to that of a fine restaurant, but the food can be good even when served to several hundred people"

He and the other chefs agreed that food for hospitals could be good whole also being economical and taking into account the special diets of patients. He served candied yams with his stuffed fish. "Food has to look good to taste good," Frey said.

Louisiana-style food was featured last week on the day that Jeansonne prepared his Crab and Shrimp Etouffee. He was assisted by his father, Jim, as he worked in the hospital cafeteria.

Jeansonne said his recipe for crab and shrimp etouffee is "an original product." He also prepared another original from Creole Kitchen, Alligator Sauce Piquant. These two dishes are certainly not choices one usually encounters at a hospital cafeteria.

Alligators are good for more than shoes, swamp scenery
1,336 words
22 April 1993
The Baton Rouge Advocate
(Copyright 1993 by Capital City Press)

LAFAYETTE - If you would rather wear alligator than eat it, think again.

Or, if you mistakenly believe alligator is an endangered species, you're wrong.

As one alligator aficionado put it, "If we don't eat them, they're going to eat us."

Louisiana alligator, no longer an endangered species, will be featured at "Leather 93," a hide and products promotion in Hong Kong later this month. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) will be at the show to promote Louisiana gators as a source of food and hides.

To make sure no one passes up the Louisiana booth, "Big Al," a 15-foot stuffed alligator will attract a crowd, while spicy Alligator Sauce Piquant will excite taste buds.

"I think they'll love the sauce piquant," said Roy Johnson, director of international marketing for the LDAF. "In Hong Kong, they eat Cantonese-style food, which is spicy, so I think they will really go for Louisiana sauce piquant."

"Big Al" and the Alligator Sauce Piquant are compliments of Prejean's Restaurant in Lafayette. The huge reptile, which usually rests inside the restaurant's front door, will be replaced with green plants while "Al" makes his debut in Hong Kong. Prejean's owner, Bob Guilbeau, will attend the show and serve the sauce piquant, which will be made ahead of time at Prejean's by chef James Graham.

Alligator has been on the menu at Prejean's since 1981. At that time, only wild alligator meat was available, and Guilbeau admits that the product lacked consistency in taste. With the advent of alligator farms, however, the quality and taste of the meat has improved.

"When we started with the alligator, we fried it and really had it on the menu as a novelty item for 'adventure diners,' " Guilbeau said.

Today, Prejean's offers diners a variety of farm-raised gator dishes, including Alligator Montoucet, named for the gator farmer, Jack Montoucet who supplies Guilbeau with alligator meat, and Alligator Grand Chenier, seasoned tail meat wrapped around shrimp and crab stuffing and grilled.

"We treat it like seafood. You don't want to overcook it when frying. To tenderize it, we run it through a cuber two or three times, or you could pound it," Guilbeau said.

Consumers who want to try cooking alligator at home should ask at their favorite seafood markets for alligator, said Mark Shirley, aquaculture and fisheries agent with the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Be sure to ask whether the meat is wild or farm-raised, since the meat from an alligator caught in the wild will have a gamier taste.

The quality and price per pound of alligator depends on the cut, with the tail meat being the most expensive. Meat from the jaw, legs or body is good for soups or sauces, while the white-fleshed tail meat is excellent for grilling.

"The tail meat is what you can substitute for veal. It's nice tender meat with just a touch of marbling," Graham said. "It needs to be pounded somewhat, and I like to add a bit of tenderizer to the seasoning mix then dredge it through flour for sauteing and serving over fettuccine with a crawfish sauce."

On most animals, the tenderloin is the choicest cut of meat, but on the alligator, it is so lean that it tends to be dry. It is excellent for stuffing and slicing into medallions, Graham said.

"The leg and jaw meat is more flavorful than the white meat, but requires more tenderizing and works well in a sauce piquant. Don't pound it, however, or when smothered it will fall apart in the pot," the chef said.

Gator is an excellent choice for health-conscious consumers because it is high in protein and very low in calories, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. In this way, it is comparable to fish and seafood.

Alligator as a seafood still suffers from a huge misconception, Shirley said. Most consumers still believe the Louisiana alligator is an endangered species and eating it violates their environmental consciences.

"During the 1950s and the 1960s, the numbers were declining, but today's situation shows the success of a conservation effort," Shirley said.

Louisiana is home to 85 percent of the world's alligators. In 1991, $22 million in alligator hides and $3 million in alligator meat were sold by Louisiana producers.

The LDAF hopes to interest Far East traders, tanners, designers and garment manufacturers, as well as chefs, in Louisiana alligators.

"Specifically, we are looking to the Japanese market. They are the largest user of the alligator, where the hides are used for everything from shoes, belts and brief cases to golf bags," said LDAF Commissioner Bob Odom.

Taiwan is already a hot market for Louisiana alligator meat. Twenty tons of gator meat, almost all from Louisiana, were consumed in Taiwan last year, primarily for traditional wedding ceremonies which feature barbecued alligator mandarin-style, Johnson said.

Here is the sauce piquant recipe to try at home.


5 lbs. alligator meat rubbed with Cajun seasoning and cut into 1-inch by 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup plus 1 tbl. olive oil

11/4 lbs. smoked andouille, diced

10 ozs. tomato sauce

1/3 cup margarine

1/3 cup dark roux

1/4 cup Wylers chicken granules

4 cups chopped Spanish onion

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1 cup diced celery

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbls. diced jalapeno pepper

1 tsp. sugar

2 tbls. fresh, chopped garlic

3 cups fresh, sliced mushrooms

2 qts. water

1/2 cup chopped green onion bottoms

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Mixture of cornstarch and water for thickening

1. Rub both sides of alligator meat with Cajun seasoning and cut into 1-inch by 1-inch pieces. If possible, allow to marinate overnight.

2. Using high heat, brown alligator in olive oil and remove from heat. Saute andouille in same oil for five minutes and remove from pot. Pour tomato sauce into pot with remaining oil. Still on high heat, stir sauce until it is very brown. Keep stirring until a thick ball of paste forms. To this, add margarine, roux, chicken granules, chopped onions, bell pepper, celery, cayenne pepper, jalapeno peppers and sugar. Saute until onions are clear.

3. Return alligator and andouille to pot. Add garlic, mushrooms and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat. Cook for one hour, adding water as needed. Once alligator is tender, add chopped green onions and parsley.

4. If desired, add a mix of cornstarch and water to thicken gravy. Serve over rice.

Serves 12 to 14.

- Chef James Graham

Prejean's Restaurant, Lafayette

Dickie Babin knows the secret to Sauce Piquante
846 words
4 October 1990
The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate
(Copyright 1990 by Capital City Press)

One of the most important ingredients for a great sauce piquante can only be found in Raceland, Louisiana.

His name is Dickie Babin.

For the past 17 years, Babin has been cooking alligator, chicken and turtle sauce piquante at the Sauce Piquante Festival, held annually in this Bayou Lafourche community. Although Babin's cooking skills are exceptional, they are not unusual in this area. In fact, for the past 21 years of the festival's history, the sauce piquante, main dish at this three-day Cajun food celebration, has always been cooked by exceptional chefs _ all men.

This year's Sauce Piquante Festival will be held Oct. 5, 6 and 7 on the grounds of St. Mary's Nativity School in Raceland on Highway 1.

There's Bart Brown, food chairman with 10 years of festival cooking experience, Craig Zeringue, Lynn Bourgeois, Niles Robichaux, Milton Bourgeois, Leonard Landry, Mike Falgout, Mike Robichaux and James Kilgore. Some of the "Charter Cooks," Plump Zeringue, Kee Kish Lecompte, Euclid Danos and S.R. Theriot, established the tradition of serving the rich spicy sauce piquante that draws crowds back again and again to the October gathering.

The cooks range in age from early twenties to late seventies. Most have been cooking at home for years and years. Getting together to cook at the festival is a social event, a great party in the midst of an even greater party.

"The older guys still come to assist," Bart Brown said, "and give of their time and talents, even though their children have long graduated from the school. Some of them probably have great-grandchildren attending St. Mary's now!" (Proceeds from the Sauce Piquante Festival benefit St. Mary's Navtivity School, a Catholic elementary school in Raceland.)

Alligator sauce piquante is by far the most popular food item at the festival.

"It's always the first to go," according to Babin, a third generation alligator hunter. "Alligator has been on the menu for eight years _ it's only been legal to fish them for the past nine years. And the demand is great. We serve turtle sauce piquante, that's the second most popular item, and chicken sauce piquante is third. But alligator is a delicacy, hard to come by. And our alligator sauce piquante keeps 'em coming back for more.!"

The process of preparing and cooking the sauce piquante begins at 3:00 a.m. The first batch won't be ready until noon. During festival weekend, more than twenty-five, 80-quart batches of sauce piquante are prepared. By Sunday morning, all of the sauce piquante is sold out.

Before jumping into this recipe, here are a few cooking tips passed on by the Sauce Piquante cooks.

Meat Preparation: de-bone alligator, chicken and turtle meat and marinate for two days before cooking. Marinate in a mixture of Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning, garlic powder, red and black pepper, Worchestershire sauce and lemon.

Preparation of Sauce: The tomato sauce must simmer alone for no less than 4 hours before adding it to the seasoned roux. Green seasonings are added to roux (yellow onions, bottom portion of green onions, bell pepper and celery) and simmered until transparent. Once the tomato sauce is combined with the seasoned roux, simmer for 5 hours.

TIPS: Do not pre-cook or brown meat. Browning seals in the juices of the meat. These juices are an important part of the sauce.

. Stirring the sauce will cause the meat to break up. Cook over a butane burner for best control of heat.

. Turtle meat is added 3 hours before serving. Alligator and chicken is added one hour before serving. Parsley, shallots and mushrooms should also be added one hour before serving.

. No measuring of seasoning is done by these cooks. They all cook by taste based on many years of experience. So you're on your own there. Or, stop by the festival and they'll give you private lessons.

A popular recipe from last year's Festival is:

TURTLE, ALLIGATOR OR CHICKEN SAUCE PIQUANTE 2 cooking spoons flour (for roux)

Cooking oil (for roux)

1/2 cup shallots, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup sugar

2 qts. Hunt's tomato sauce

Ground bay leaves (optional)

1 cup celery, chopped

3 lbs. meat of choice

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 pint stuffed olives

2 pints mushrooms

Salt, black and red pepper to taste

1. Make a roux with flour and oil.

2. Add tomato sauce, celery, onion, bell pepper, shallots, garlic, sugar, ground bay leaves and cook for 3 hours.

3. Add seasoned meat of choice (turtle, chicken or alligator) to tomato sauce. Cook for 1 or 2 hours or until meat is tender, but not falling off bones.

4. One-half hour before meat is tender, add parsley, olives and mushrooms.

5. Season to taste with salt and the peppers. Serve over rice.

Serves 15

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