Do y’all know the difference between Cajun cuisine and Creole cuisine?
Our Gulf Coast neighbors in New Orleans can give you the full answer. But when it comes to the food, you’re in for a real treat either way.
Cajun cuisine is described as a “rustic” food with plenty of spice and kick to it, with roots tracing back to France. Creole cuisine is more cosmopolitan, with a lineage that includes African, Caribbean, and Native American influences as well as European, and their food is known for its rich sauces and tomato bases.
One thing that unites the two culinary cousins, of course, is that they both include a whole lot of fresh Gulf seafood.
We hope you’re cooking plenty of Alabama Gulf Seafood in your kitchen these days, but if you’re relying on just salt and pepper for extra flavor, you might need to upgrade a bit. Here are seven Cajun- and Creole-inspired dishes that’ll add some zing to your dinner menu.
Fried Soft-Shell Crabs with Rémoulade Sauce
Soft-shell crab season is upon us, and if you can get a potful of these beauties at your local seafood market, you do not want to let this opportunity pass you by. This Gulf Coast delicacy is a perfect family meal when they’re fried up golden brown, and the remoulade sauce is the perfect flavor complement for blue crab.
Blackened Alabama Gulf Shrimp and Grits with Creole Cream
If you’ve ever enjoyed blackened seafood, you can thank our Louisiana neighbors. Chef Paul Prudhomme’s signature technique is now a staple of Cajun cuisine, and with the Creole cream in Chef Carl Tilley’s recipe, you’ve got the best of both worlds in one dish—and a terrific rendition of a classic Southern dish. (Great for brunch or dinner!)
Blackened Gulf Shrimp Gyro with Cucumber Dill Sauce
If you need a good lunch recipe with blackened shrimp, this quick and easy dish from Chef Bo Hamilton will do the trick. The chef recommends 5-6 Gulf shrimp per gyro, but there’s no harm in living a little and adding a couple more, right? These shrimp gyros are great if you’ve got picky eaters in the family too.
Shrimp Thibodaux (Pecan Smoked Shrimp with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar)
With a name like “Shrimp Thibodeaux,” this recipe is sure to please anyone who loves Louisiana cooking. The Gulf shrimp are the centerpiece of Chef John Hamme’s recipe, of course, but if you or your family have a sweet tooth, you’ll get to indulge in brown sugar, vanilla beans, cinnamon, and even a splash of bourbon.
Shrimp, Sausage, and Chicken Jambalaya
It’s hard to find a more signature Louisiana dish than a hearty jambalaya. Three different meats paired with a rich tomato base and a filling portion of rice is sure to please the family, and you’ll probably have enough leftovers for lunch. One suggestion, though: Our Gulf Coast neighbors love their andouille sausage, but we have to recommend Conecuh!
Blackened Redfish with Smoked Avocado and Sweet Vidalia Pico de Gallo
They love their Redfish in New Orleans, and we’ve got plenty to go around here in Alabama, thankfully. If you’re looking for a healthy recipe that’s still big on flavor, Chef Tim Hontzas has you covered here with a sizable Redfish filet topped with tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeños. Make sure you don’t go easy on the seasoning, too.
Redfish with Pontchartrain Sauce and Conecuh Jambalaya
“Pontchartrain” meets “Conecuh” in another terrific recipe from Chef Carl Tilley that unites the fantastic flavors of Louisiana and Alabama. The Redfish is blackened in Creole seasoning and spices, of course, and the thick sauce for the Gulf shrimp is a terrific combination. You’ll have a tough time finding more flavors in one dish.