Sunday, 31 January 2010

A story of Pasta, Prawns and the holy Trinity

Just a week ago at the market, my little princess batted her eyes at me and asked me if we could get some prawns. Although a tad expensive, I acquiesced to her request as I know how much she loves prawns. I then had to figure out what I was going to make.

For the longest time, I have had the itch to make Jambalaya - not quite knowing what Jambalaya actually is. I knew the song pretty well though, you know,

jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
For tonight, I'm a-gonna see my ma-cheri a mi-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit far and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

I knew that Jambalaya had something to do with Creole and Cajun cooking but that was about it. A quick check on google showed that Jambalaya was akin to a Paella. Not really as exotic as I thought it was. So I shelved the plans for a Jambalaya.

Reading on though, I learnt that the Holy Trinity doesn't only exist in Religion and Theology...

If you will permit me to digress a little, The Holy Trinity in Christianity is basically the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - all in unity of the Godhead. One God though manifested in three. Although born and bred a Christian, I still find this concept hard to explain - but I guess that is what faith is all about.

Hinduism has its own Trinity as well, Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver and Shiva, the Destroyer. Not terribly removed from the Christian trinity - thus emphasising my own religious belief that ALL religions are equal and there is at the end of the day, only ONE God.

That brings me to the Culinary holy Trinity. Apparently in Cajun/Creole cooking, especially in Louisianna, the combination of onions, celery, and green bell pepper is known as the holy Trinity. That was enlightening to me and seeing it a few days later on an episode of Jamie's America where he visits Louisiana and joins Leah Chase in making Gumbo, proved that it was a term in real use and not just something made up.

So now you know all about the different Trinities and I learnt about the Culinary Trinity and I was intent on making sure I used it!

I decided that I would use the holy Trinity in a Pasta dish with Prawns, Mushrooms and Spinach. I'd also use some chilli flakes to give it a bit of bite. This is what I did:

3 Bay Leaves
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp oregano
3 tsp chilli flakes
1 large onion - chopped
1 stalk celery - sliced thinly
1/2 capsicum - chopped (reserve the other half for garnishing)
200g button mushrooms - sliced
200g spinach leaves
400g large prawns - deveined
500g Spaghetti

Fry the bay leaves and oregano till fragrant. Add in the garlic and chilli flakes, mixing well. Add the holy trinity (onions, capsicum and celery) and cook till soft adding a little water if needed. Add in the mushrooms and cook till juices come out and then add in the spinach leaves, cooking till just wilted. Add in the prawns and cook till nicely pink. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in cooked pasta, mixing well.

This dish turned out to be really tasty with the holy Trinity providing a lovely base of flavour. My parents came over for lunch and it was enjoyed by everyone. This pasta dish is a definite winner and I think the next time I might try it with chicken or even bacon. Or maybe prawns again!

I'm submitting this to my friend Ruth over at Once upon a feast for her 149th edition of Presto Pasta Nights! She's looking for guest hosts too so pop on over and see how you can help!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww Dharm you're such a great dad! I love how you give your family the best, it's so touching :)

Ranjani said...

that is such a cute write up:) isn't the holy trinity v similar to a sofrito?

Ruth Daniels said...

Great post and I'm with your Princess...more prawns please. Thanks for sharing prawns and the trinity with Presto Pasta Nights.

It's always a treat when you do.

Bellini Valli said...

I am sure the entire family loved this dish Dharm:D

Foodycat said...

That's a good looking pasta! I don't particularly like green peppers, but there is just something about what they do to the Trinity that makes it work! Jambalaya is much soupier than a paella, I think.

Mallini said...

Looks really good! Maybe you cold give Gumbo a shot? I think it's like a western prawn curry. ;-)

Oh, and by the way, YOU'RE LATE.
DB challenge mana?

Mallini said...

Thanks! Too bad you couldn't make this months, I bet your kids would've LOVED it. I went to 'layout' and edited the 'about me' section. Abuela was an old nickname of mine, I decided to use my real name instead. :-)

Joanne said...

Your daughter has pretty good taste in seafood! And you are such a good dad for cooking this food at her whim. I've heard lots of things about this holy trinity but I don't really like celery, so I've never really ventured into Creole/Cajun cuisine. This jambalaya makes me think I should give it a shot!

Dee said...

I first heard about the Creole holy trinity on a Jamie Oliver episode. Your readers are right, you know. You're an amazing dad. And the pasta looks great, by the way.

tigerfish said...

Seems very healthy too :)


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