Did you know that in 2016 the average Americans consumed approximately 14.9 pounds of seafood? Some of this fascination with seafood has been attributed to the growing popularity of Cajun seafood recipes that are now finding their way to all parts of the country.
In Texas, there are a number of seafood restaurants selling crawfish, crabs, and shrimp, among others. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg given the wide variety of Cajun seafood recipes available today.
Here is a collection of some of the most unique and classic Cajun cuisines, ranging from the popular options to the lesser-known favorites.
Gumbo is one of the favorite stews among Cajun enthusiasts. It is a thick stew made from a dark roux of fat and flour. It also contains spicy stock, shellfish or meat, chicken, and sausage. A serving of Gumbo cannot be complete without the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables which include celery, onions, and bell peppers.
The dish is categorized based on the type of thickener used, which can either be okra or file powder (a spicy herb made from ground sassafras leaves).
A ubiquitous Cajun cuisine, etouffee is made using a popular cooking method known as smothering. This classic stew is prepared from a wide range of seafood, such as shrimp, crabs, or crawfish. It is fortified using a mix of vegetables that include green pepper, onion, and celery.
Some seafood restaurants add hot sauce and traditional Cajun seasoning to make it extra spicy before it is served with rice.
A Cajun’s favorite cuisine, Jambalaya, is a perfect one-pot dish full of ingredients, but with little or no tomatoes. Classic Jambalaya is typically made with a variety of meat such as chicken or pork, seafood, like shrimp or crawfish, or even chorizo, andouille, or smoked sausage.
This delicious dish also includes onion, bell pepper, celery, and slightly cooked garlic, which is added just as the meat browns. It is then seasoned with spices to create a rich stock before the rice is added to complete the dish.
This is a spicy Cajun dish beloved by many and commonly prepared during parties, festivals, and events that celebrate crawfish season.
Crawfish Boil can contain any of your favorite ingredients, including potatoes, andouille sausage, artichokes, fresh corn, mushrooms, and a plethora of spices and herbs. Of course, crawfish are then added and then served while still hot or warm.
If you prefer something a bit different, you may consider whipping up a boudin sausage. This Cajun cuisine typically contains liver and pork shoulder mixed with celery, onions, rice, and a host of spices. It can be served as bite-sized fried balls or in their sausage casings. You can have them as a snack or as part of your main meal.
Cajun food culture will undoubtedly challenge your food palate. While most places and cultures do not include alligator and turtle meat in their diet, seafood enthusiasts savor this Louisiana Creole cuisine. You can either serve it in spicy piquant sauce with rice and garnished with parsley and green onions, or fry it into small mouthwatering alligator bits.
Corn Maque Choux
While in a Texas seafood restaurant, you are unlikely to find a dish that rivals their well-known Cajun seafood cuisines. However, this particular dish will delight any Cajun cuisine enthusiast. Corn maque choux is a colorful cuisine made from fresh corn, bacon, sauteed green onions, tomatoes, and green bell pepper. This palatable dish of smothered corn looks a bit the better known classic succotash.
Are you planning to visit Texas in the near future, or are you already there? Ensure that you at least get to visit a seafood restaurant as this state knows no boundaries when it comes to creative, distinct, and delectable flavors. While there, try any of the above Cajun cuisines and you will not regret it.