Many restaurants in New Orleans have to make a distinction between classic cooking styles and the mish-mash variations that are what we lump together as "Creole" cuisine. The classic restaurants like Antoine's and Galatoire's are usually referred to as "Creole-French," whereas a classic French place might be listed as "French-Continental" or "French-Bistro." Same goes for Italian places. You'll see some places referred to as "Sicilian" or "Northern Italian," (like Andrea's in Metairie) and others will be listed as "Creole-Italian."
"Creole-Italian?" You betcha. At the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, the French Quarter was no longer French or Spanish, it was dominated by Italians immigrants who started coming over in large numbers in the 1880s. By the early 1900s, the French Market was really an Italian one, with Italian butchers working out of stalls behind Cafe du Monde coffee house. Stores such as Central Grocery and Progress groceries opened across from the French Market buildings on Decatur. St. Mary's church, next to the Old Ursuline Convent, was originally called Stainte Marie de l'Archeveche, then Holy Trinity, then Our Lady of Victory. Now, it's called "St. Mary's Italian,"and is the "official Italian parish" of the archdiocese. Even our organized crime syndicate in New Orleans got a Creole-Italian name, the "Muffeletta Mafia."
These chicken rolls are a good example of what can happen when a New Orleanian gets his hands on a perfectly good Italian recipe. The original recipe called for chicken breasts rolled up with Parma ham and provolone, dredged in flour, lightly fried, then served with an Italian red gravy. I've "creoled" it up a bit.
Starting with basic boneless/skinless chicken breasts from Zuppardo's Supermarket, some provolone from their deli, and some Chisesi's boiled ham (also from the deli counter).
Roll it up!
Here's where the variation on the theme truly begins. The basic white flour is seasoned, in this case with basil, oregano, and thyme. There are a number of possibilities and variations that can be done at this point. I considered a mixture of Progresso Italian-flavored bread crumbs and flour, or replace the Italian-style herbs with "creole seasoning," like Tony Cachere's or Zatarain's.
Brown the rolls in a little olive oil. I like to get them brown, then put them in a baking dish and toss in a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes, while making the sauce. Speaking of which...
De-glaze the pan with some white wine, a bit of California Pinot Grigio in this case.
Add some heavy cream to the pan drippings and wine. Or, make a blonde roux and add some chicken stock to the pan drippings for a non-cream sauce.
Serve with some angel hair pasta, yellow corn. some crunchy cap bread and the rest of the Pinot Grigio. Yum!