Bayou is a French-English word for a body of water found in low-lying areas that creeps along its undefined shorelines. It’s a bog, a swamp, a marshy-green thing. The color isn’t necessarily in the water but rather in the reflections. It’s sticky and smelly and bug-infested. It’s also filled with amazing beauty.
Generally speaking, Bayou country stretches from Huston Texas to Mobile Alabama, with most of it in the great state of Louisiana. Louisiana’s bayous are home to some of the most unique ecosystems. These warm wetlands create a home for Cyprus trees, mosses, alligators, blue herons, fish and white-tailed deer. All total, nearly three-million acres encompass Louisiana’s bayous. Bayou Bartholomew is a 375-mile-long wetland that begins in Arkansas and ends in Louisiana. Bayou Bartholomew supports more than 100 species of fish and numerous species of migratory nesting birds. It is the longest Bayou on the planet.
Louisianan is also home to both Cajun and Creole cooking. And yes, there is a difference. There are actually many subtle differences. Just think of Creole Cooking as “City Food” and Cajun Cooking as its Country Cousin. Both Cajun and Creole Cooking are delicious branches of the same family tree.
Bayou Cajun Crab and Corn Casserole
1 lb. lump Crabmeat
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup Flour
3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
3 oz Romano cheese, grated
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
Kosher Salt to taste
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 (12 oz.) can Corn, drained
1/2 Small Red Bell Pepper, cored and finely chopped
1 can (4 oz) Diced Hatch Chilies
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large casserole dish with butter or spray with cooking spray. Set aside until ready to use.
Pick over crabmeat for any remaining bits of shells. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once butter has melted and is frothy, sprinkle with flour. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until a blonde roux if formed, about 10 minutes
Add cheeses, cream, milk, cream, garlic and seasonings. Cook until sauce has thickened and cheeses are melted. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Stir in crabmeat and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Drain corn and add to crab mixture.
Core and chop red bell pepper. Add to crab mixture.
Empty Hatch Chilies into crab mixture. Stir everything well, taste and adjust seasoning.
Pour mixture into casserole dish and bake in heated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Great with a big leafy salad and warm cornbread.