Mar 27, 2012

Seafood Celebration

Knee deep in Lent, all of the fast food joints have been advertising fish sandwiches and fried shrimp.  Schools across my area--even the public ones--serve seafood for lunch on Fridays.  Local restaurants put out signs telling me that the crawfish are in.  They offer fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, or shrimp stew for Friday plate lunches.  Groceries reserve entire sections of their weekly ads for Lenten seafood specials.

It's a seafood celebration.

Which confuses me and always has.  I grew up in the Catholic church, my mom belonging to various church organizations.  Went to Catholic school from K-8th grades.  Plaid skirt and all.  Believe me, we were taught about Lent.  Silent, penitent Lent.  No celebrating, no hallelajuhs.

(But I really want to jump up and down and say hallelajuh over this creamy seafood sauce.)

In school we were asked to write what we were giving up for Lent on a slip of paper.  Fold it up.  Place it in a basket in church.  Serious business.  However, even in the holiest of places, jokers are still jokers.  A few wise guys decided to write things like "I'm giving up school."  "I give up homework."  "I will not pick my nose during Lent."  So then we had to place our slips of paper in a basket on the teacher's desk.  Teachers  scarier than catholic priests?  Well, I'm not going there.  The teachers handed out trips to the principal's office.

It was a mixed message.  A somber, holy reverence was expected at school.  But then everyone was attending crawfish boils all over South Louisiana come Friday night.  Loud, raucous crawfish boils with spicy mudbugs and cold beer.  And that, my friends, isn't much of a penance.

I always detected a certain giddiness in my dad on all those Lenten Friday nights.  Eager for
redfish courtbouillon
crawfish etouffee
mom's beer battered shrimp
or trout meuniere

After a few seafood meals under stretching our belts recently, I had leftover crab, shrimp, and crawfish.  But not enough of any one thing to make a meal.

One of my favorites at the restaurant where my brother works is Pasta Pontchartrain.  A creamy pasta with crab and shrimp--both of which can be caught in Lake Pontchartrain.

Starting with that idea and borrowing some tricks from Tessa Kiros' lovely lemony cream sauce, we had ourselves a winner.

And like most Louisiana Catholics, we enjoyed the hell outta the pasta.

Then felt immensely guilty afterwards.

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Bayou Pasta

1 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c white wine
1 c heavy whipping cream
about 1/2 c cooked crab
about 1/2 c cooked shrimp (if large, chop to match pasta size)
about 1/2 c cooked crawfish
3/4 lb short, stubby pasta, such as penne, farfalle, or shells
Salt, pepper, and Tony's Creole Seasoning to taste
chopped parsley for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Melt butter over medium heat.  When foamy, add the garlic and lemon zest.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add the wine, increase the heat, and reduce by about 1/2.  Lower the heat back to medium or medium low.  Add the cream.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt, pepper, and Tony's.  Simmer the sauce until thickened.  Gently fold in the seafood and simmer until heated through.  Toss the pasta with the sauce.  Garnish with chopped parsley and a sprinkle of Tony's.

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Linking this week with:

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 Hearth and Soul blog hop at Premeditated
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  1. We didn't have the lovely variety you had. All we ever had was fish fries on Friday.

  2. This seafood pasta looks awesome! I have everything but the crab. Can't wait to make it!

  3. Must try this! Yum!! I awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. Head on over to my blog to claim it. Have a great day!

  4. Yum! Can't wait to try this - I have been on a seafood quest all week. Thanks for linking up to The Creative Corner Hop. Stop by next week for more fun.


  5. This seafood pasta looks scrumptious and I can't wait to try it! Loved your story about Lent in Catholic school. :) I can so relate! Since I'm a seafood-a-holic, I'm loving all of the great seafood around, too.

  6. I suppose lent IS traditionally somber...but life is too short for that. Celebration is much better! This pasta looks amazing!

  7. Hey, go straight to the office!
    What a delight, I am not Catholic but I do like the hell out of Lent. Seafood recipes like this one comes about from such desperate times... makes me think every night should be Fridays.... Hope you have a great weekend and a blessed Palm Sunday.

  8. Stopping by from the Hearth & Soul Tuesday Blog Hop!

  9. Beautiful! This looks super tasty! Come link up to Foodie Friday

  10. This pasta looks really good. The pasta lover that I am, I will be trying this one.

  11. This looks scrumptious! What a delicious combination of seafood.

  12. I really enjoyed this post. Your writing is wonderful and always makes me smile, or nod in agreement, or sometimes laugh right out loud - especially about you feeling immediately guilty right after eating that lovely pasta. This is such a delicious recipe, especially for people like me who love seafood all year round. I enjoyed the links to your other recipes too. I've chosen this post as one of last week's Hearth and Soul highlights in my post today. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  13. This looks fantastic - thanks for linking it in. I am so excited that we have hit the 100 mark for links to Food on Friday: Pasta and Noodles! Have a great week.


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