I've been blessed with many extraordinary food opportunities and adventures in my life, but few compare to a meal I recently shared with shrimper (and all-round super dude) Timmy Cheramie.
I hope y'all have had the chance to check out my story, "Fresh From The Bayou" in the June issue of Southern Living featuring Timmy, his family, and his insanely good recipes.
Well, I just couldn't help myself, so I paid a return visit to Golden Meadow, Louisiana a couple of weeks back to meet up with Timmy and his crew (and what a crew they are!).
I rolled into Golden Meadow around noon, and after a short, zig-zagging boat ride through the marsh grass-lined waterways of the bayou, I arrive at the camp of oysterman Jack Fillinich, who's one of Timmy's long-time friends. From there we did what most guys do in this setting: eat, talk about fishing, eat some more, sip a few cold ones, go fishing, sip a few more cold ones, solve all the world's problems, eat, and get rocked to sleep by a gentle bayou breeze. Pretty simple and harmless.
Among the many cool things I experienced over the weekend, perhaps the coolest was having the chance to ride shotgun alongside Timmy as he masterfully cooked up a batch of his famous Macaroni Étoufée. Now before I go any further, let me assure you that Timmy's definition of an "étoufée" is a little different from that of most folks. He uses the term to loosely describe just about anything he makes in his Dutch oven that begins with sweating down lots of onions before piling on a variety of tomato products, then slowly cooking everything down to a thick stew. There's no roux in his étoufée. Time and caramelization take care of everything. Timmy just layers flavor upon flavor upon flavor. It's honest, old-fashioned cooking that'll knock your socks off.
Check out this slide show for the blow-by-blow. If you're in the mood to fix your own batch of Macaroni Étoufée, don't get all hung up on the amounts. Just follow Timmy's lead -- go with your gut and taste as you go. Enjoy!
Macaroni Étoufée SLIDE SHOW
I'll have more tales and images from my trip to the Bayou posted soon (including accounts of the most amazing boudin balls and strawberry wine ever). Stay tuned.
Meantime, for dessert, watch this VIDEO OF TIMMY in action...it's a blast!