Here at Glover Gardens, we really like Cajun-Creole cooking. We like Cajun-Creole eating even more!
I recently made jambalaya on a Saturday night. A lot of it. That’s a 12″ x 3.25″ cast iron pan there, chockfull of goodies: rice, stock, sausage, crawfish, shrimp, vegetables (the trinity) and spices (Zippy Cajun). And – don’t tell – a little bacon fat. And no, I didn’t capture the recipe – it’s so hard to document amounts when you’re just throwing things in using your culinary muscle memory.
I can’t seem to remember that we are empty nesters, and that I don’t need to make enough food for 12. Food for 12 was about right when we had two big hungry teenaged boys, because there would be enough for the first night, and enough for a leftover night. Anything beyond that would have been magically eaten at midnight by a boy or three, with the only evidence a picked-clean pan in the sink.
Back to the present. The Grill-Meister and I ate the jambalaya. Once, twice, and a third time, doing our virtuous “we eat our leftovers” dance.
It got a little boring.
I got home from work “early” on Thursday of that week (“early” translating to: “it was still daylight”) and decided to kick the jambalaya up a notch.
If jambalaya is shrimp, sausage, rice and goodies, and you already have it, why not amp it up by adding more sausage and more shrimp? It would be like meta-jambalaya!
So I also thought that a lovely fresh salad would be the perfect backdrop for this meta-jambalaya. That was an exciting thought because we had picked up some pickled quail eggs when we were in Mississippi a couple of weeks ago, and they were on the top shelf of the refrigerator just waited to be served: “pick me, pick me!” They’d be perfect on a cool, fresh salad with honey mustard dressing, a terrific compliment to the heaviness of the jambalaya, I mean, the meta-jambalaya. The Grill-Meister called it the “Jumbo Jambalaya”.
I was all excited about this meal because it combined many of our favorite ingredients, was elaborate by weeknight standards, and was something I could produce in less than an hour. I chopped up my standard garnishes for Cajun-Creole cooking, and might’ve gone a bit too far with them. I know I did, in fact. It looks like a salad zoo. But that’s ok, it tasted great!
You know how I feel about garnishing: Just Gotta Garnish! Chime in on this: did I over-garnish? Does it ruin the look or do you want to dive onto the page and snarf up that meta-jambalaya?
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