Happy lent everyone!
I know lent is a few weeks in, but I haven’t had much time to post lately! So, today I have decided to share with you the beginning of my lenten journey, which includes: seafood, prayer, chardonnay, and more seafood. Growing up Catholic, lent has always been such a special time for me. My parents always took the time to cook special seafood dishes for us on Friday nights. Or, if we were really lucky, they’d take us out to eat at City Cafe’ in Plaquemine where we would eat all the fried catfish until we were stuffed. Or, we’d get shrimp poboys from Fat Daddy’s. Then, we’d go to Video Visions, pick up a VHS movie, and go home and relax. Ahh the good ol’ days in Plaquemine.
In all honesty, I appreciate lent for the beautiful sense of self renewal that it brings. Lent is a tradition among Christians of many denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. It is a time of prayer, penance, repentance of sins, and almsgiving. I’m aware that some of my readers may not follow the Christian faith, however I’m still excited to talk about lent because I feel that it can be celebrated by anyone of any spiritual background. I feel that no matter who you are, lent can be a time for all of us to renew ourselves inside and out! I love to spend this time of year working on prayer, being more kind to others, and giving more of myself to those in need. I think the world would be a better place if we all practiced these simple principles.
With all that being said, lent is also my favorite time of year because: SEAFOOD! Of course, we all know that meat is forbidden on Fridays during lent. So, being the resilient people we are, us Cajuns decided to improvise and prepare seafood in any delicious way possible in order to abide by this rule. What a sacrifice!
Seafood is my favorite thing. in. the world. Boiled crawfish, broiled fish, and especially shrimp cooked ANY WAY POSSIBLE are what make my heart happy. Restaurants in the area are constantly competing against each other to create innovative dishes during lent. For example, I recently went to Walk On’s and they had a shrimp and spinach flatbread on their special lenten menu. Shucks, Dupuy’s, Black’s, The Riverfront, Richard’s and Cajun Claws are all local seafood restaurants in Abbeville, and I love to see the crowds gather there on Friday evenings! Every restaurant is locally owned and they all offer good service, fun atmosphere, and most importantly, raw oysters and perfectly cooked seafood.
While lent is a fun time to go out to eat on Friday nights, it is totally fun to go home after work, get comfortable, crank up some jazz music, pour your own wine, and cook yourself a delicious lenten treat, right in your own kitchen!
I know it’s no surprise that I love pasta. My whole family loves pasta. It’s a Percle pre-requisite. So, naturally, one of my favorite dishes to cook during lent is Shrimp Piccata over linguine.
This dish is so good, y’all. Piccata is a dish that involves all the good things in life, such as, white wine, lemon, garlic, and most importantly, capers. I LOVE capers!! I think you all will love this one because it is light, satisfying, and perfect for a cozy Friday night at home.
So, take off your shoes, put on your stretchy pants, and pour your wine. I’m about to take you with me to carb heaven!!
Here we go!
Wine pairing: La Crema Chardonnay (MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE WINE EVER MADE!!!) (sorry for the excitement there but I really really REALLY love that one)
Music Pairing: Smooth Jazz music
1 tablespoon butter
Guidry’s seasoning mix
4 cloves garlic
1 pack sliced mushrooms (I used baby portobella mushrooms)
1/4 dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons capers
Better than Bouillon, chicken flavor (can be found in a small jar, near chicken stock. If you can’t find, chicken stock will work)
1 lb shrimp marinated in Johnny Jambalaya’s Herb Dressing and Marinade
Cook pasta al dente. Drain pasta, but reserve about 1 cup of the starchy water you cooked the pasta in. set aside. coat pasta in JJ dressing, just enough to prevent from sticking. stir well. set aside
in a sauce pan, heat about 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is warm, add butter. Once butter is melted, sauté your produce (I used Guidry’s. such a quick, easy way to add flavor to every meal!) season with salt, pepper, and dried parsley flakes. sauté until translucent. add mushrooms, stirring to combine, about 4 minutes. add garlic. stir for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup white wine. Take sip of white wine. Stir to combine. add juice of half a lemon. and 1 teaspoon of better than bouillon (could also use chicken stock. A friend recommended I use better than bouillon and I love it. I used the chicken flavored one) stir to combine. toss in capers. If your sauce looks like it needs more liquid, add some starchy cooking water that you boiled the pasta in, or throw in some more wine. Again, take sip (or gulp) of wine.
Add a splash of cream to the pan. I had whole milk on hand and it worked fine. half and half or heavy cream would also work, just add a little bit at a time and stir, cooking sauce until your desired level of thickness. add a few generous shakes of parmesan cheese. Again, if your sauce looks thicker than you’d like, be creative! Add a splash of wine, lemon juice, or starchy cooking water. Make this pasta your own.
add shrimp and cook until pink and no longer translucent.
Add in cooked linguine, a little at a time, folding your pasta into your sauce with tongs until you’ve reached desired level of sauciness.
top with more parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of dried parsley flakes.
Take bite. Sip chardonnay. Revel at the beautiful matrimony of pasta and chardonnay. Ahhh, it’s a match made in heaven.
Aren’t Fridays during lent such a sacrifice?
By the way, Jesus drank wine!
xoxo Cajun Queen