How Novel

Books feed our hunger for intellectual sustenance, quite often with a savory flourish, but what of real, stomach-growling cravings?  They do, perhaps, when the book is James Patterson’s thriller about a cook on the lam, titled, unexpectedly, The Chef.   A friend read the tome, noticed a small collection of recipes in an appendix, and immediately thought of this blog.  She hoped one of the ideas would inspire an entry.  Which, indeed, it has.  Thank you!

As the action unfolds in and around New Orleans, a Cajun-style Scrambled Egg Po’boy is a fitting (and, it turns out, a tasty) choice.  This week’s offering riffs slightly on the original, supplementing the scramblers with fresh crab.  Eggs and shellfish having a beautiful affinity for one another, and all.

Much like the city that inspires the recipe, the po’boy is more than a little decadent, built around fluffy eggs scrambled in duck fat, heavily invested with tender crab, and layered on a buttered and toasted baguette.  Accompany it with a ready supply of Zapp’s (New Orleans’ own!) crunchy potato chips, and you have a meal fit for the Queen of Cities.

Also present are a couple generous sprinklings of Cajun Seasoning.  The primary recipe suggests using store-bought, but where’s the fun in that?  Fortunately, a site called Gimme Some Oven had an idea for combining oregano, paprika, garlic, cayenne and white peppers (among many other spices) sufficient to enchant the palate.  Supplies enough for today’s recipe, with plenty left over for future magic:

Cajun Seasoning

Louisiana Voodoo Dust

So there you have it, a sandwich savory (perhaps a little luxuriously so, thanks to the crab) and subtly seasoned.  What’s left?  Don’t forget the scallion!  It offers a fresh counterpoint, dancing ever-so-seductively, intermingling with the richness and soothing the spiciness.  It lets both feel good about themselves, bringing out their best.

Oh, before moving on to the recipe, how’d the po’boy pick up its unusual name? Nobody knows for sure, but New Orleans lore has it that, back in the 1920s, restauranteurs Benny and Clovis Martin, themselves former streetcar operators, took mercy on their former colleagues.  Referring to streetcar conductors, the Martin brothers told their chefs, “We awe git dees po’boys somethun’ ta eat” (“We ought to get these poor boys something to eat”).

Naturally, some historians dispute the explanation.  Killjoys.  No-one is certain, the “streetcar” story is fun, is colorful and is advanced locally, so…sold!  It is a good tale and, much like The Chef, it ends with a po’boy.  See?  Reading is good, and it satisfies all sorts of yearnings.  The mind, the soul, the stomach.  A po’boy delights them all!


Cajun-style Scrambled Egg Po’boy

  • 1 tablespoon duck fat (*1)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (*2)
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup crab meat, optional (*3)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (*4)
  • 1 small baguette, preferably from Leidenheimer Baking Company (*5)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thinly

Set a medium skillet over a medium flame and add the duck fat.  When it shimmers, add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and tender, about five minutes.

While the onion cooks, crack both eggs into a small bowl and whisk.  Add the cream, salt and Cajun seasoning.  Whisk to combine.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the onions and add the crab, if using.  Lower the heat and use a wooden spoon to stir and fold the egg mixture until large curds form and the egg no longer is runny.  Remove from the heat.

Split the baguette down the middle lengthwise, and set a large pan over a medium-high flame.  Drop in the butter and, when it melts and begins bubbling, place the baguette facedown in the pan, being sure it’s thoroughly in contact with the butter.   Toast until golden-brown, about three minutes.

Slide the baguette onto a plate.  Open it, layer it with the egg mixture, and sprinkle with scallion slices and, if desired, a little more Cajun seasoning.


1 – If you don’t have access to duck fat, schmaltz or even peanut oil would be a good substitute.

2 – New Orleans is a French-influenced city, meaning you have no choice but to go with a large shallot here.

3 – Crab isn’t included in the original recipe, but it’s a great addition, elevating he po’boy from good, to memorable.

4 – Store-bought is fine, but if you’re inspired to make your own, instructions are below.

5 – Come on, novel, being a little pretentious, aren’t we?  Unless you happen to be in New Orleans, this isn’t even a practical option.  Besides, a fresh baguette from a local bakery is more than sufficient.

We already got the Zapp’s potato chips.  One culinary trick at a time, OK, recipe?


Cajun Seasoning

  • 3 tablespoons paprika (*6)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

Mix all the ingredients until evenly combined. (*7)


6 – If you have it, smoked paprika imparts an even nicer flavor.

7 – Yep, that’s it.  The total extent of your commitment.


19 thoughts on “How Novel

    1. Jenn, that sounds positively epic! With the silky, savory Hollandaise sauce filling in beautifully for drawn butter, the shellfish becomes sublime.

      Next year, when the diner decorates for Halloween, maybe you’ll favor us with an IG article. If you just happen to photograph the Crab Eggs Benedict in the process, so be it. I mean, it was just there, front of shot. What else can you do?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, E, you better believe there’s a baguette involved! 🥖 It’s New Orleans, after all.

      As you know from experience, IG draws a bigger audience, but WP provides a more generous stage. This means only the first two or three WP paragraphs make the transition to IG. Alas, the bread arrived later in the WP story this week, and thus, it stayed here.


      1. Maybe not as happy I am you got to see both, my friend.

        Oh, in addition to more words here on WP, you also will get better pictures. Same images both places, but IG crops pictures to fit its template, whereas WP is much more customizable. You’ll see what I mean before long.


      2. Oh? Definitely something I want to explore, as some pictures really enrich the story when they’re dimensioned properly, but when they’re cropped they look…pathetic.

        Thanks for the tip, E!


      3. Thanks, E. That largely was my own conclusion after exploration last night. Minor changes were possible, and only through convoluted methods, but WP is definitely a friendlier platform for posting pictures.

        I appreciate all your advice!


  1. I can no longer read the word “onion” without scoffing. There! I did it again.

    The scent of fresh cut bread, however, inspires anything but scoffery. Add some Cajun seasoning, crab, and eggs into the mix, and I discover that I’m actually rather hungry…

    Liked by 1 person

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