Sep 9, 2009

Grand Isle Revisited: Part 1

Last month we went to Grand Isle, LA for vacation. Part of the trip involved crabbing in the surf. We boiled crabs there, but had enough to pack up, stick in the ice chest and head home. A month later, we're still reliving vacation with the 2 pounds of crabmeat we brought home and froze... and half a beach's worth of sand I'm still finding everywhere.

Here's the dinner we swam with. These are Blue Crabs, commonly caught along the Gulf Coast. We were lucky enough to be on the Island during a full moon. I've always found that the crabs run pretty well under a full moon. These were pretty full of meat and mostly female. That reminds Louisiana you can't keep crabs with visible eggs. That also reminds me that my grandpa used to tell his friend's wife that there was a huge net strung across the coast to keep the fish and crabs away from the beach. She was afraid to swim with the fishes (and not in the Mafia sense...although I guess she'd be afraid of that too). My solution to not getting pinched by crabs is to wear old tennis shoes while crabbing. Do they look good with a bathing suit? No. But my toes don't get pinched and that's more important than fashion.

So back to my vacation bonus...the coveted crabmeat. Crab is expensive, so I was thrilled to have extra to take home. As we were crabbing, I was already laying down plans for what I'd do with them. Those crabs never stood a chance with me watching the lines and scheming, rubbing my hands together, laughing an evil laugh, salivating.

Crab Au Gratin was a given. But I knew I had enough crabs for another dish too. So I thought I'd make my brother D's Crab & Artichoke Lafourche. That would be perfect. We had to drive through Lafourche parish and along Bayou Lafourche to get to Grand Isle after all. Yeah! It was perfect. It was like fate or something. Yeah. Something. Then I got home and realized his recipe was Shrimp & Artichoke Lafourche. Well, I'd gotten myself too jazzed up about the whole fate thing, so I went with it anyway.

Since crab is more delicate than shrimp and the recipe called for raw shrimp and my crab was already cooked, I had to make some changes. It came out okay. Not the best crab dish I'd ever eaten...that would be Crab Au Gratin which I'll save for next week. (Just a little tease. Gotta keep ya comin' back). But it was still good. Tasted like stuffed artichoke with crab added in. Can't complain about that. I'll have to make it one day as it was intended, with shrimp. I ended up adding too much breadcrumbs (as usual), so I've reduced the amount in the recipe.

Crab and Artichoke Lafourche
from Ms. enPlace, adapted from my brother D's recipe

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can artichoke hearts in brine, drained and quartered
2 cups cooked lump crabmeat, picked of shells
3 green onions, chopped
Seasonings of your choice (salt, pepper, cayenne, Creole seasoning, lemon juice)

2 Tbsp bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Olive oil or melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add cheeses, bread crumbs, and cream of mushroom soup and season to taste. Combine well. Add artichokes, crab, green onion. Fold gently to combine.

Pour into a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Top with additional bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle olive oil or melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This is an example of a typical seafood casserole that you'd find in S LA. Vegetable casseroles too. Artichokes are actually a common ingredient in and around New Orleans. Stuffed artichokes are extremely popular. My dad has even thrown artichokes into the crawfish boil. We joke that if you stand in one place too long, he'll throw you in too.

Mise en place for Crab & Artichoke Lafourche. Not pictured are seasonings you could use to make it your own. I added 1/4 tsp black pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and a few squirts of lemon juice.

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. Since I don't want them cooked down to nothing, I like to wait on the green onions...what we call shallots (I know, I know. It's confusing and wrong).

When the onions are soft, add the cream of mushroom soup. Cream of mushroom soup really isn't an attractive food, is it? Add both cheeses and the breadcrumbs. Season however you'd like and combine well. Then add in the green onion, cooked crab, and artichokes. Fold gently so you don't break everything up into baby food. What a lucky baby that would be. Probably a gassy one too.

Empty everything into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle a light layer of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Lightly drizzle with olive oil or melted butter. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.


And get after it.
Tastes like Grand Isle. Oh, wait. That's just more sand I've found.


  1. Your posts are always so funny! When I was younger and we went to the ocean I always wore tennis shoes because of the crabs : ) I'm even tempted to do it still, but I try not to. I love this dish, it sounds good. Good eats!!

  2. Thanks, Kim. I guess I could invest in some of those watershoe thingys. But my old beat up nikes go so nicely w/ my two-piece.

  3. Thanks for posting this recipe for crab and artichoke lafourche. My parents are going to be in town, so I want to make a special meal for them. Their favorite thing to eat is crab, so a fancy crab dish would be something that they would like to eat. I like that this recipe has cream of mushroom soup and Parmesan cheese. Those ingredients combined together would be good to make this dish more creamy. My parents love creamy dishes, so they would appreciate that with their crab.


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