large sweet yellow onion
Everything I learned about the history of Cajun and Creole food, I learned from Paul Prudhomme, the Louisiana-born celebrity chef who popularized both types of Southern cuisine. I learned that Cajun food is the food of country folk who settled in the bayou lands of Southern Louisiana and kept largely to themselves. Creole food, on the other hand, is city food, specifically from New Orleans, and was greatly influenced by the many different cultures like French, Spanish, Italian, Haitian, French Canadian, Native American and African that helped to shape that city. My very favorite shrimp dish came from Prudhomme, and that made him, in my eyes, the King of Cajun cooking. This Spicy Cajun Shrimp is simply divine. I remember making it for my father, and his reaction was always the same. He would bow his head, clasp his hands in front of the bowl and just say, “Honey, this is liquid gold!” Don’t be put off by the amount of ingredients. I can only tell you that this dish is worth every bite. Perhaps the phrase that best describes Paul Prudhomme’s Spicy Cajun Shrimp has to be Ça c’est bon — That’s good! Enjoy a big bowl of Cajun comfort food this week!
I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure if you make this dish as a side, the main entrée may take a back seat! Yes, it’s that delicious. I’m always looking for ways to cook zucchini and summer squash, and for this recipe, they both come together, get enrobed in a rich, creamy cheesy smoked Gouda sauce and baked to a golden brown for a perfect accompaniment to any dish. You’ll want to start with a cast iron skillet or any heavy pan that will go from the cook top to the oven. Then, it’s just a matter of slicing up the squash and tossing them into a flavorful cream sauce. I like adding a handful of crisp chopped bacon to the recipe. It just gives it a pop of great flavor. You can use any sharp cheese of your choice, but the smoked Gouda really sends the flavor over the top! Although the peak time for summer squash is early to late summer, it’s pretty much available all year round. The green zucchini and the bright yellow summer squash give this side a variety of color and textures, which makes it really pretty on the plate! This Squash Au Gratin is nice spooned on a plate, or served in a ramekin or small side casserole dish. Make sure the top is a bubbly golden brown and serve right out of the oven!
Watch my HOW TO VIDEO for Squash Au Gratin here!