Swine lovers don't have to wait until Hogs for the Cause to savor creative pork dishes. Those looking for a taste of Cajun country also are in luck. Toby Rodriguez, the nationally recognized Cajun cooking enthusiast, is offering a one-night-only menu of elevated Acadian dishes at Three Muses (536 Frenchmen St., 504-252-4801; www.thethreemuses.com) Tuesday, March 25.
Rodriguez is not a classically trained chef — he's an artist and furniture maker — but he has become a proponent of traditional Cajun cooking, most notably in guest spots on Top Chef: New Orleans and a lengthy segment on Anthony Bourdain's Travel Channel show No Reservations, in which Rodriguez invited the celebrity chef to participate in a traditional Cajun boucherie.
Rodriguez grew up near Breaux Bridge, La. "I grew up on a farm with pigs, sheep, chickens and a little bit of cattle," he says. "I've done some Cajun pop-up events all over the country — in Brooklyn, in Homer, Alaska, in Montpelier, Vt., and I've taught at a few cooking schools as well."
At Three Muses, Tuesday's menu will consist of five dishes ranging between $6 and $12 including cornmeal-fried garlic-stuffed duck leg with cane syrup and raw oysters with horseradish duck pate. Grilled blood boudin is paired with Camembert cheese and jalapeno. Beef tongue confit is stuffed with garlic and chow chow and served with Buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes. Finally, crackling couche-couche is topped with fig preserves and garnished with hog crackling.
"It's taking some very traditional dishes that I grew up with and trying to elevate them," Rodriguez says. "The duck leg is a version of the fried chicken that I grew up with as a kid, but taking it to a whole new level. It's fried in half peanut oil and half hog lard. Things are always better with lard."
The menu is available beginning at 7 p.m. Louis Michot (of Lost Bayou Ramblers) will perform with the Vermillionaires.