Every week day during EatLafayette, The Independent will spotlight a Dish of the Day; on Wednesdays, our Dish of the Day also becomes the Dish of the Week and is published in the print edition, along with other features spotlighting the local industry. Read more about The Independent's ongoing EatLafayette coverage and how to participate here.
Dax's Mama's Cajun Cheesesteak Poboy
Dax on Verot serves up its take on the Philly Cheesesteak for this Dish of the Week, its "Yankee treat with a Cajun twist" for only $4.99. Dax piles its four-hour chopped southern-style roast beef, sautéed with onions and bell peppers, atop lightly toasted French bread and smothered in melted provolone and mozzarella cheeses. Dress it with lettuce and tomato; all poboys are served with fries. Visit Dax at 2832 Verot School Road for plate lunches, barbecue or seafood Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. or Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - Elizabeth Rose
Dax on Verot
2832 Verot School Road
Beef chuck roast
2 whole onions1 bell pepper
Fresh French bread (sliced open faced)
Mozzarella and provolone cheese
-Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
-Season roast with dry seasoning and place in a pan with one onion coarsely chopped.
-Add a small amount of water to the pan and cover it. Place in the oven for four hours.
-In a pan, sauté the remaining onion and bell pepper finely chopped with butter on high heat.
-Chop the roast as fine as possible and add to the onions and bell pepper.
-Season again with dry rub, and melt the provolone and mozzarella cheeses on top.
-Place the mixture on the bread (can lightly toast if desired)
Pamplona Tapas Bar and Restaurant General Manager Andrew Payne paired the Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2010 California Pinot Noir with the restaurant's jamon and arugula salad, citing the versatility of a pinot noir to pair well with a variety of foods. "It's refreshing and light for summer, but it has enough body to compare with the complexity of the salad," says Payne. The plate boasts a hearty helping of arugula with serrano and piquillo peppers, toasted hazelnuts, manchego cheese, olive powder and a roasted red pepper vinaigrette, all surrounded by thinly silced jamon.
Pamplona, located downtown at 631 Jefferson St., is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is served Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Take advantage of happy hour Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. - Elizabeth Rose
Top Chefs' Tips
Make It Your Own
Jeremy Conner on how to put your own signature on a favorite dish
Village Café Executive Chef Jeremy Conner knows some really good home cooks in Lafayette who use their creativity to adjust a recipe and make it their own. And he acknowledges such alterations are one of the tricks of the trade - even for top chefs. "As many chefs tend to do, I typically scrutinize recipes designed for the home cook," he says. "I often use published recipes as jumping off points for new creations, and a lot of the cooking I do is simply a summation of years of shortcuts, improvements and better ways to execute existing recipes."
For those of you who want to make your dishes pop with more flavor, Conner offers a little advice. For starters, he says one common step in many home recipes is the addition of water to a sauce. "From the chefs' perspective, this is a cardinal sin," he says. "Adding water, even in making gravy, simply dilutes the flavors we have worked hard to build up to that point." As a flavor-building alternative, he recommends using a broth or stock made at home from the animal bones you're cooking with, shellfish shells or vegetable scraps you'd typically discard (store-bought broth or stock works, too). His personal favorite substitute for water in a savory recipe? Beer. Of course, being the sports fanatic and even bigger Saints fan he is, Conner typically sips on a cold one while cooking. When he's at home, not an ounce of that beer goes to waste, no matter how warm it might get. "It makes perfect sense to pop the top on a frosty fresh beer and toss the warming remnants of the previous one into the sauce," he says.
We're not sure you can make Village Café's barbecue shrimp any better than Conner does, but give it a try and let us know how it comes out. Warning: You'll need plenty of napkins to eat this dish.
Village Café at River Ranch's
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp
Prep time: 1 hour; serves 6-8
2 12-ounce beers (domestic lager)
3 bay leaves
1 cup garlic cloves
1 pinch ground black pepper
3-4 dashes of Tabasco
1 cup white wine
4 Tbsp. blackening spice
½ cup lemon juice
1 fluid ounce Worcestershire sauce
3 pounds fresh whole Gulf shrimp
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 stick butter
1 loaf fresh French bread
Allow butter to soften at room temperature. In a medium pot, combine all ingredients except shrimp, cream, bread and butter. Over medium heat, simmer and reduce by half. Remove bay leaves and puree reduction in a food processor. Return mixture to pot and add shrimp. Over low heat, steam shrimp in reduction until cooked, about five minutes. Add cream and stir. Slowly add butter a little at a time, stirring constantly until well incorporated. Remove from heat. Remove shrimp from sauce and arrange over slices of French bread. Pour sauce over shrimp and bread and enjoy peeling and eating the shrimp and sopping up the sauce with the bread.
Veggies within walking distance
It hardly gets any fresher than a garden within walking distance when it comes to down-home good eating. Such is the case at downtown Johnson's Boucanière, 1111 St. John St., where the garden sits just behind the smokehouse in a 10-foot-by-50-foot space. Fresh tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, bell peppers, habañeros. "We use the tomatoes in our green salads," says Greg Walls, co-owner of the restaurant and specialty meat store, adding that a recent special was simply a side order of fresh tomato slices. As for the bell peppers that come from eight to 10 plants, "we'll chop those up and they'll go in our boudin," he adds. Hot, like the weather of late, are the habañero peppers that are just now coming into season. "They're just now starting to ripen," says Walls. "I'll smoke them, and then we'll cut them up and probably next month have a special smoked habañero barbecue sauce." By the way, Johnson's Boucanière will be closed for the July 4 holiday until July 10. - Dominick Cross