In Part Three of our Food Channel documentary video, Beneath the Surface: Gulf Seafood’s Fight for Survival, we hear New Orleans Chef Chris Lusk (pictured, left, with The Food Channel’s Andy Ford) mention the “holy trinity” as he’s preparing a Creole-style oyster dish—without really explaining what that means.
I’m sure many of our Food Channel regulars know what that refers to in Cajun/Creole cooking, but for those unfamiliar with the term: the holy trinity is chopped onions, bell peppers and celery, combined in an approximate ratio of 1:2:3. It’s the base that’s used for many Louisiana culinary creations such as étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya.
But what many people may not know is there are other similar threesomes that are staples of other national cuisines that are often referred to as “trinities.”
For Greek chefs, the trinity is lemon juice, olive oil and oregano. In Korean cuisine it’s garlic, ginseng and kimchi; Chinese cooking’s trinity is spring onions, ginger and garlic. Thai cuisine is often based around the trio of galangal, kaffir lime, and lemon grass. In French cuisine, the key vegetable combination of celery, onions, and carrots is called a mirepoix. In Italian cooking, the same basic trio of ingredients is known as the soffritto.
They say good things come in three’s and it certainly looks like that holds true across all boundaries of the culinary world.