White flaky Gulf fish and jumbo Louisiana shrimp are seasoned and pan-sauteed to crown a well-dressed salad in this Black Drum and Shrimp Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing.
BOOM! That’s the sound you’re sure to hear when you pass through Lake Charles, Louisiana—one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. The term “boomtown” doesn’t explain the whole story as you try to understand how this sleepy South Louisiana town has reinvented itself as a hub of education, industry, entertainment, and innovation.
Anchored by McNeese State University, growth came as the petrochemical plants established a corridor in Westlake along I-10, then the casinos came knocking as gaming reshaped the waterfront and opened the doors to tourism. And now, the region is exploding with growth as it becomes a hub for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. Several multi-billion dollar projects are springing up along the Calcasieu River ship channel leading to the Gulf, and the growth in new jobs is staggering.
And on the culinary scene, new restaurants are taking root throughout the area. Traditional Cajun and Creole cuisine is the mainstay of the culturally rich foodway, but now, innovative eateries, breweries, and retail shops are opening at a rapid pace. CRAVE, one of my favorite gourmet shops in Louisiana, is the mecca for all things olive oil. Owner Catherine Parrino has a passion for artisan foods, fine wines, quality cheeses, and olive oils and balsamic vinegars. And she knows a thing or two about her goods.
With just a few minutes of conversation, Catherine led me to a tasty discovery. She let me choose my size bottle and filled it 60% with Olive Oil fused with the juice of Blood Orange and combined that with a 40% addition of Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar. Talk about a tasty combination. She has dozens of different additives, and the combinations are endless.
So, when in Lake Charles, visit Catherine and let her mix up your own signature blend. Shake well and dress your favorite salad. And my favorite salad takes full advantage of the Gulf waters off the coast of Louisiana with my Black Drum and Shrimp Salad liberally doused with my crave-worthy dressing.
- 4 (6-ounce) fillets black drum
- 8 (16/20 count) jumbo peeled, tail-on shrimp
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup roasted yellow corn kernels
- ½ cup sliced radish
- ½ cup red onion slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 grapefruit segments
- 4 orange segments
- Lightly season the fish and the shrimp with Cajun seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a Mason jar, add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cover and shake well until mixed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large mixing bowl add the greens, corn, radish, and onion. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, and toss to coat the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once sizzling hot, add the fish and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the fish and add the shrimp to the pan. Cook the fish for 2 minutes longer or until done. Turn the shrimp and cook until done about 3 minutes total.
- Add the salad mixture to the plates and top with a fish fillet and equal portions of the shrimp. Grind fresh cracked pepper over the salad. Garnish with the grapefruit and orange segments. Lightly drizzle additional oil and vinegar over the fish and serve the remaining dressing on the side.
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