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Goodies from Grand Isle

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I spent many a hot August days (and nights) in Grand Isle, Louisiana, on our family vacations. We often camped out in tents on the beach with only the breeze from the Gulf for our air conditioner. One day my daddy dug a hole in the sand and put a watermelon in it to keep it cool. The melon was covered with sand and an “X” marked the spot. Well, during the night the tide came in and washed the “X” away and all these years later we are still looking for that sweet, ripe melon to come bobbing to the surface.

In the evenings, we feasted on our “catch of the day,” which was just that—whatever we caught from the Gulf. If the fish were biting we had fried fish. At night we would gig for flounder and get soft shell crabs at the grassy edge of the bay. If the crabs were running it would be boiled or stuffed crabs. And if we were lucky enough to catch some shrimp, then it was seafood gumbo all around.

When I was a kid there were always lots of hungry mouths to feed and we often ate large, one-pot meals that would feed the masses. I created a dish I call Shrimp Pasta Jambalaya that is a little bit Cajun, a little bit Creole and a whole lot delicious. It will certainly make your guest happy.

Seafood Pasta Jambalaya

– 2 Tbsp. olive oil

– 3 cups chopped seasonings (onions, celery & bell pepper)

– 1 Tbsp. Garlic, chopped

– 5 cups water or stock

– 1-ten ounce can cream of mushroom soup

– ½ -10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes

– 12 ounce can crushed tomatoes

– 1 Tbsp. sugar

– 6 chicken bouillon cubes

– 2 tsp. salt

– 1 tsp. dried basil

– 1 tsp. dried thyme

– ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

– ½ tsp. black pepper

– 1 Tbs. hot sauce

– 2 pounds peeled raw shrimp

– 1 pound claw crabmeat picked for shells

– 1 bunch green onions, sliced

– ½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped

– 1-pound rotini pasta

In a large heavy bottom pot, heat oil on medium high heat. Add seasonings and garlic and sauté until wilted. Add water, soup, tomato products, sugar, chicken bouillon and all spices. Bring to a low simmer. Add shrimp and simmer for five minutes. Taste and adjust spices if necessary. Mixture should be a little salty at this point. Add crabmeat, green onions, parsley and rotini pasta. Bring to a low simmer and cook covered for ten minutes. Stir and cook an additional five minutes until pasta is al dente.

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