- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your favorite pair of jeans has a culinary equivalent: a dish that you can dress up or down; that’s comfortable in a breakfast, lunch or dinner menu; and that always makes you look good as a cook.

It’s called maque choux (pronounced “mock shoe”), and unless you’re from Louisiana, chances are you haven’t heard of it.

Aside from its garden-fresh flavor, maque choux is appealing for its versatility.

Fill a brunch omelet with maque choux or serve it plain as a side to breakfast sausages. You can also add crumbled bacon to maque choux.

For lunch simmer maque choux with hot milk or a combination of milk and half-and-half and elevate the vegetable dish to delicious chowder.

If you’re trying to stretch last night’s rotisserie chicken into a second dinner, add the leftover bits of chicken to maque choux and you have a bountiful meal. It’s hard to make a little maque choux for two, but leftovers will keep refrigerated up to three days.

Serve maque choux plain or with pork chops for a robust fall dish.

Maque choux

Makes 2 servings.

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 small red onion, chopped

1 celery rib, trimmed and chopped

1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup cooked corn kernels (see note)

1 large tomato, cored and chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and corn. Cook over low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add tomato, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or until tomato is pulpy, stirring frequently. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and melt in. Remove from heat.

Note: Cook 2 ears of corn and scrape off the kernels to yield 1 cup.

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