Friday, June 09, 2017
Today's office lunch was chicken po' boys. There was very little prep: lettuce and tomatoes were provided by God, so there was little to do but slice them up; the bread (faux ciabatta) came from one of our building's bakeries; the pickles were store-bought; the fried chicken was ordered from the local branch of BBQ Chicken. About the only thing I really had to prep was the spicy Cajun remoulade, which turned out great.
Cajun remoulade, a red/pink sauce, is loosely based on a French remoulade, which is a white sauce. Recipes for Cajun remoulade are as varied as the people who make the sauce, but in almost every case, the recipes will call for dumping in everything but the kitchen sink. My remoulade is no different: start with a sriracha-and-mayo base, then pile on chili powder, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pickle juice, minced pickles, caper juice, minced capers, powdered garlic, and powdered onion. It sounds absolutely disgusting, but the happy fusion of those ingredients produces an effect similar to the thing we in the West call "curry powder," a term generally not used in India. Curry is actually a mix of many, many different spices, each of which contributes its own subtle effect to the whole, but the symphony of which produces a single, unified gustatory impression. Cajun remoulade is like that. My own version has a heat that sneaks up on you and leaves the inside of your mouth at least a tiny bit on fire. Glorious.
Anyway, the po' boys were a hit with my boss and coworker; my coworker took photos of his sandwich with which to taunt his fiancée.
The ciabatta deserves special notice because it's not real ciabatta. The bread came from Stone Mill, a bakery that sprang up in our building late last year, and which has impressed me with its faithfulness to Western methods in making bread and cakes. I've enjoyed most of Stone Mill's products (especially its magnificent cookies and brownies), but I've noticed that the bakery has fallen down on a few items: baguettes are one (Stone Mill makes sourdough baguettes, which I dislike), and ciabatta is another. But even though the ciabatta isn't authentic (a real ciabatta has a hard, thick crust; Stone Mill's ciabatta is soft all around), it's nevertheless perfect if you think of it as a sort of poofy hoagie roll.
My coworker was kind enough to offer to buy the bread as a way of chipping in for lunch; that was mighty nice of him. The sandwiches turned out great.