Notable Nosh: Jambalya (Real Cajun style?)
Quite some time ago, I posted a version of Jambalaya I cooked myself. My wife and I both make the dish from time to time but, until recently, I had only once had it served to me outside the home and this was at Vineyards Wine Bar and Bistro , in Ottawa. That place is not a Cajun restaurant and their interpretation was not, I am afraid to say, particularly impressive.
On my last trip to the capital, I paid a visit to Fat Tuesdays as I had long wanted to sample their ‘Oyster Po’boy’. Unfortunately, that particular delicacy still remains on my ‘bucket list’, as I discovered that the restaurant has now discontinued the item, apparently due to some sort of supply issues with the buns they used. In any event, though disappointed, I saw that Jambalaya was on the menu and, as Fat Tuesdays is most definitely a Cajun place, I decided to see what they could do with the dish…
The menu described the dish as containing: ‘Prawns, Andouille Sausage, Smoked Chicken, House Cured Ham, Vegetable Blend, Dirty Rice, and Creole Tomato Sauce.’
I was a bit bemused by the inclusion of Dirty Rice, as this is a whole other Cajun dish in it’s own right but, other than affecting the look of the dish, it worked out pretty nicely.
The appearance, as you can see, was not terribly attractive and, in my case, it was made even more stark and uninteresting owing to the omission, at my request, of the huge dollop of sour cream that I saw served on the top of plates being served to other people. I don’t know if this is common in Louisiana, or not, but it really didn’t appeal to me at all.
Anyway, aside from the looks, this dish was really excellent. The vegetable ingredients were green pepper and onion and there were lots of shrimp, sausage and chicken. The spicing was really good, with just a touch of heat, and the flavors of the whole mélange were very nicely balanced indeed. I think my wife makes a better one than they do here but I have to admit that it was better than my attempts even though, if I may say in my own defense, my preparations are always much prettier. Whether this was a true Cajun rendition of the dish I cannot honestly say, not being an expert, but it was certainly a delicious effort if it wasn’t. Do any of my readers have any thoughts given the picture and the ingredients I’ve described?