Eating Like It’s Jazz Fest: Congo Square Fish Nachos

May 1, 2020

Eating Like It’s Jazz Fest: Congo Square Fish Nachos


If you’ve seen the last few Glover Gardens posts, you know that we’re missing Jazz Fest, where we would have been right now, but “Festing in Place” instead with the WWOZ live stream.

Visit the WWOZ Festing in Place site to see the lineup; art from WWOZ

We’re also trying to eat like we’re in New Orleans, to complete the Big Easy vibe. It’s working! Last Sunday, we got out the cast iron skillet and made one of our favorites, Chef Paul’s blackened fish. We LOVE this dish. It was featured in the post below when we were getting all excited about Jazz Fest back in 2017.

As usual, it was great, and as usual, we had some left over. That’s intentional, because we love to have fish tacos the next day. But this time, I went rogue and made nachos instead. It just sounded good. And it was!!

There was a bit of a Caribbean flair in the flavors I threw together, so I’ve named the dish Congo Square Fish Nachos in honor that space within what’s now Louis Armstrong Park that’s so significant in the history of African-Americans in New Orleans – and the history of jazz. We learned about this history on a walking tour, which I highly recommend.

Our guide was fabulous! I’m looking for his name so I can give him credit for his wonderful and engaging tour

Wynton Marsalis said, “Every strand of American music comes directly from Congo Square.” Need to know more to believe it? Read about it in this terrific article: BLACK HISTORY: CONGO SQUARE, NEW ORLEANS – THE HEART OF AMERICAN MUSIC. It’s an important story and a good one to know as we celebrate Jazz Fest.

Back to the food! If you make blackened fish or have leftovers from a restaurant, give a thought taking a walk on the wild side and try it on some nachos. Here’s how it went down … it’s not a recipe as much as a set of loose guidelines, kinda like jazz is.

Glover Gardens Riff on Fish Nachos

First, I preheated the oven to 425°, and then threw together a quick Caribbean-style salsa / pico:

  • corn kernels (chopping the kernels off of leftover corn on the cob; canned or frozen would work)
  • chopped fresh jalapeno and serrano peppers
  • chopped pickled jalapeno
  • chopped pineapple (from a can)
  • chopped red onion
  • lime juice
  • honey
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Then I gathered the other ingredients to top the nachos:

  • shredded jack cheese
  • finely sliced cabbage
  • fresh baby spinach leaves
  • the leftover blackened fish, torn into large pieces

Then I arranged blue corn and regular tortilla chips on a cookie sheet.

Use sturdy chips that aren’t broken; that’s the salsa in the bowl

I covered the chips with shredded jack cheese and put them in the oven for about 5 minutes. At the same time, I put the fish in the oven on a small baking sheet, covered tightly with foil.

Melted cheese on the tortilla chips

After removing the fish and chips (hahahaha) from the oven, I topped the chips first with the cabbage. (This was for crunch and health purposes.)

Next was the baby spinach leaves. (This was for color and health purposes.)

The last step was to add the fish and salsa/pico. (This was for maximum deliciousness purposes.) Laissez les bon temps rouler, we’ve got Congo Square Fish Nachos!

Serve it up and eat it like you’re in the Big Easy!

We were pleased with the results, although the next time, we’ll heat the plates before serving to retain the heat. But all in all, it was a great use for leftover blackened fish.

It was also a great way to remind ourselves of Congo Square and its important history…and to make ourselves even more wistful and wishful that we can get back to NOLA soon.

Stay home, stay safe, stay sane and stay in touch.

© 2020, Glover Gardens

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