Seasoned to perfection with an surprising light and airy crunch, this grain free Cajun fried seafood platter gets the 'best ever' title for all of the right south Louisiana special reasons. Shrimp, oysters and catfish are sprinkled with spices, dipped in a binder, then covered with a feisty gluten free batter before taking a dip in piping hot oil. A feast that was made for sharing, this beloved, old as the swamps recipe gets my personalized redo that fits into Paleo and gluten free lifestyles seamlessly. Yep and yay...
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I Honestly Never Wanted to Write this Grain Free Cajun Fried Seafood Platter Recipe Post, Y'all...
Have you ever held on to something precious in your heart, knowing that you'll only let it see the light of day under one condition, and one condition only? Well, for those of you who follow my blog, you've probably noticed that I haven't been around in a while. That there's been six or seven weeks of stone-cold silence...I've really missed being here, writing and recipe developing and taking food photography pics. And everything else that goes along with running this blessed food blog that I love and cherish.
Well, in late September, my dad had an illness that came out of nowhere. He was hospitalized immediately, and shortly afterward we realized that it wasn't going to turn out the way that we'd hoped. After three long weeks in an ICU room, my sweet, incredible, and larger-than-life Daddy passed away warm in his bed, surrounded by his immediate family and loyal, faithful pastor.
It was rough, y'all!! A daily living nightmare for me and my family that I didn't see coming, and that I never, ever want to relive.Or even speak of again, really!! My Dad was one of the biggest inspirations for my roux and my blog, and really for the rest of my life in general. Biiigggg screaming loud yep!!
So, I thought it was finally time that I come out of hiding, and for me to share the story of my Daddy and me. And to let the whole world know that this grain free Cajun fried seafood platter isn't just a recipe for me. Nope. It's a way of living, a way of loving, and a way of being that all started on the day I was born. And that will continue on in my kitchen, and in my heart, spirit and soul, until the appointed day when I too shall pass away from this Earth...
In The Beginning There Was a Cajun Fried Seafood Platter...Yep...
My dad was the kind of stand-up man who almost never took a day off of work. He was committed to his job just as much as he was committed to his family. But, on the day that I was born, my dad woke up and told my mom that he just didn't feel like going to work that day. So, he didn't.
He took my mom out to lunch, which was another surprise in of itself. With three young hungry boys at home, my parents generally didn't indulge themselves in restaurant meals too often. Nope. But on this particular Lyn birth day they went to a local, extremely popular no-frills seafood restaurant. And true to my Dad's desires, they ate a fried Cajun seafood platter.
Then, they stopped at the grocery store before heading home. When they pulled into the carport, they could hear the phone ringing from inside of the house. After a quick sprint with keys in hand, my mom caught the caller. It was a social worker, calling to tell them that there was a baby girl that was born just hours ago at the hospital. One that needed a home. One that was all theirs. One that they could adopt and keep forever...Yep, one that was little bitty me...
So, after the shock of being on an adoptive parents waiting list for nine years, my mom and dad finally realized that they finally got the daughter that they wanted!! And that my Dad staying home from work and taking my mom out for a Cajun fried seafood platter was actually a special occasion celebration that only God in Heaven knew about at the time...
And Then There Was a Childhood Full of Cajun Fried Seafood Platters...Yay...
I have to say that I believe that my birth adoption into the Cajun culture was the first hidden-in-plain sight gift that the Lord has ever given me. From before I could walk, my parents raised me deep within the Cajun way. We listened to Cajun music. My mom cooked and fed us Cajun food almost every day of my early life. And we listened to our older family members speak Cajun French as their first or second language at almost each and every family get-together. Yep.
And my Dad took us down to our family camp, where we fished and trawled for our daily food weekend after weekend, and holiday after holiday. Going to the camp was usually a grandiose affair, with carloads of friends and family members caravaning behind us along the long, long drive down from the Westbank of New Orleans to deep, deep down Highway 23.
I can still smell the salt in the water, and see and hear the waves crashing against the boat. And sometimes in my heart I can still look deeply into my Dad's contented gaze as he threw fishing lines out far and wide. Or use all his arm might to pull a trawl filled with living shrimp, crab, fish and Gulf debris out of the deep, dark abyss.
And since he's been gone, I've realized that at times, I can again be 1 year old for just a moment. A daddy's girl, in Daddy;s arms, in our happy place. At the camp, where fishing trips and trawls brought forth enough shrimp, catfish and oysters to make Cajun fried seafood platters part of our regular nightly dinner feast. And where my feet were constantly and consistently dipped into the waters above the oyster beds alongside the pier of the camp, where I learned to love what I love. And to be who I really am ALL of the time, even when no one is watching...
I Grew Up in the Water Just Like The Shrimp, Catfish and Oysters in This Grain Free Cajun Fried Seafood Platter, Y'all...
Since my early days of toe-dipping in the south Louisiana waters, I've had a fascination with seafood of all types and sizes. It all started with baby crabs that got caught in my dad's trawling net when I was just a bit bigger than this picture. I thought they were cute, personal presents from the bayous and marshes to me, a lucky recipient who only had to put up with a random crab claw pinch here and there.
And then it moved on to shrimp, which is still my personal favorite. But, I'm usually down for eating fish of all types. And though I don't indulge in it often, catfish is the fish that always tastes like home to me no matter what.
So, when I was ready to write a tribute to my sweet, sweet Daddy, I knew that it had to be this grain free Cajun fried seafood platter. This is the dish that he and my mom ate the day I was born. And this is also the dish that we ate night after night at our family camp. And when we were home on the Westbank in the winter on Friday nights, the central part of our the-work-and-school-week-is-over celebration.
Some people say that adopted kids like me aren't really a part of our families. That we're just taken in by sympathetic strangers who raise us as house guests, not family members. All I can do is feel sorry for those people, who have no knowledge or understanding about love being thicker than blood. And how taking an infant in 18 hours after her birth, and teaching her everything you know about everything you love, is where the origins of true and real familial love arises.
And showing her how to live off of her native land, so she can cook from the bounty of her indigenous region, is the kind of love that's thicker than any blood relation anywhere out there. Period.
Til We Meet Again, I'll Have This Best Ever Grain Free Cajun Fried Seafood Platter In Honor of You Daddy...
I started this grain free Cajun fried seafood platter by groaning over the fact that I was going to have to touch raw oysters. Contrary to popular belief, not all south Louisianians like oysters. And some of us downright hate them. There. I said it, but I absolutely do not regret it. Nope!!
But, my dad loved oysters and Mark loves them, so they're the only two people I would EVER touch raw oysters for. Yep. This is probably a first and last time for Mark. So, I'll make sure to buy them again. Then, I'll set everything up for him to fry them without me actually having to touch them.
Anyway, I went with the shrimp, catfish and oysters in this Cajun fried seafood platter that I usually ate with my Dad at the camp. Sometimes there were other Cajun delicacies on the plate, too. But, the true Cajun fried seafood platter is about the fried seafood. And what you absolutely HAVE to have is shrimp, catfish and oysters. And everything else is lagniappe. But, that's a whole other blog post, so let's get back to the Cajun fried seafood platter, shall we???
So, in tribute to my Dad, I would like to tell you what I think he had most to share in this world. When the doctor told my Dad that there was nothing else that they could do for him, for some reason he looked at me instead of the physician.
And he asked me "Lyn, what do you live for?" And I said, I live knowing that one day, when it's my time, I'll be in Glory with the Lord Jesus Christ forevermore."
And he never broke eye contact with me. And he said, "Well, that's what I live for you, too. And if it's my time, that's where I'll go," as he pointed up to the sky.
So, while I'll eat this Cajun fried seafood platter in memory of the life that my sweet Daddy left on this Earth, I really don't believe that he's dead, y'all. Nope. So, there are no tears. Yep. With all of my heart and soul and spirit, I truly believe that my humble, kind, and incredibly pure-hearted Daddy is alive and well -- in Heaven.
Although I can no longer touch and feel him, I know with every fiber of my being that his cries to the Lord Jesus Christ from his death bed to take his spirit on home to Glory did not go unanswered. And I know that his breathed out his last breath right in front of me, only to translate into the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven, where He lives in the Spirit now. Until that future fateful day, when he'll get a new body that will never become tired, never wear out, and never, ever die...
And I know that on another appointed day, I'll meet up with my sweet Daddy again in Heaven. And we'll know each other. And we'll love each other. And we'll embrace once again. And it will be more real, and more lasting, than any day that we had on Earth. And that we'll speak of me living up to my promises to my Dad that I'll never give up, and I'll never surrender, just like you taught me too, Daddy.
One day, I too will finish my race, and breathe my last breath. My prayer is to meet up with you again, Daddy, and share a big ole Cajun fried seafood platter just between the two of us. So, this is not goodbye, Daddy..but that one day soon I'll see you on the Heaven side...
Share this best ever grain free Cajun fried seafood platter with those who are the most cherished gifts from above in your life. And see y'all on the yum side...
Best Ever Grain Free Cajun Fried Seafood Platter
- 1 batch Homemade Cajun Tartar Sauce
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 pint fresh oysters
- 1 pound fresh catfish fillets, cut into strips
For the Seafood Seasoning
- 5 eggs
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Make the homemade tartar sauce according to these directions. Refrigerate until the seafood is ready, up to 24 hours.
- Drain the oysters in a colander. Discard liquor. Set aside.
- Mix the seafood seasoning. Sprinkle half on the catfish strips and the other half on the fresh shrimp. Set aside.
- Use a cooking thermometer to heat oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make the Cajun fried seafood platter batter by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Make the egg wash by whisking the eggs with the hot sauce and water until lightly beaten.
- When the oil is hot, start by submerging the shrimp into the egg wash, then into the batter in batches.
- Fry the batches for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through and the batter is crispy. (NOTE: This batter is really light, and darkens once you take the seafood out and let rest on paper towels. Be careful, or you might overcook the shrimp and catfish. The batter is so light that the oysters will be darker because you can see their natural color through the light batter.)
- Next, dip the catfish strips in the egg wash, then the batter. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes per batch, or until cooked through with a crispy coating.
- Dip the oysters in egg wash, then batter. Fry in batches for 3 to 4 minutes, then drain on clean paper towels.
- Serve with homemade Cajun tartar sauce and hot sauce, and baked or fried French fries, if desired.