What is Jambalaya? Catch 35 Seafood Restaurant

It’s on our menu at Catch 35 – so what is jambalaya?  What flavors should I expect to taste?  What textures will I encounter?  Well, simply put jambalaya is a mixture of meat, seafood, and rice with spices simmered slowly.  Let’s dive into the history and culture around the dish called jambalaya to understand why it makes so many people’s mouths water when they see it on the menu.

History & Culture of Jambalaya

It is a Creole dish with origins of French, African, and Spanish cultures.  Jambalaya is a notable staple dish of New Orleans.  Both Creole and Cajun cultures have influenced the dish and changed it to suit their taste buds.  Creole jambalaya has tomatoes which is simmered with rice, vegetables, meat, seafood, and spices.  This one pot creation is filling and flavorful.  The Cajun version of jambalaya does not include tomatoes, instead, it is all about deepening the flavors of the meat.  Browning and caramelizing the meat enhances the smoky flavor of the sausages which also turns the dish to a darker brown color.

The great thing about jambalaya is you can change it up with whatever you have around the kitchen, however, we highly recommend using andouille sausage – there is just something about the depth of flavor it adds to the dish that can not be replaced.  This is also the reasons why jambalaya may look different from city to city or restaurant to home.  The variations of flavors that jambalaya can have depends on the chef, the spices of the region it’s cooked in, and the ingredients available.  So when eating this dish expect to eat the flavors of where you are at.

Flavors & Textures of Jambalaya

Expect to have some spice in this dish.  Paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper usually present themselves in jambalaya.  Expect some heat but nothing overpowering.  Onion, garlic, and tomatoes round out the spice to give a balanced flavor profile.  Savory and satisfying the ingredients paired with shrimp, chicken, sausage, and sometimes alligator add depths to this very comforting eat.

Catch 35’s Jambalaya

In house, we smoke our Gulf Shrimp, add andouille sausage, and  simmer with onions, peppers, celery in a tomato sauce and poured over our cilantro rice.  Smoked seafood just adds that extra depth of flavor you are looking for.  It is on our Spring Features for 2024 but won’t be there for long as our menu is always changing to provide the freshest seafood and from the farm dishes in Chicago and Naperville.

Order Now

You can join us for lunch every Monday thru Friday from 11:30 am to 3:00pm or Dinner at 4:00pm.  Order Catch 35 for carryout or delivery if you prefer.  Our patio/outdoor café is open at both locations in Chicago & Naperville.  We do offer a Happy Hour with ½ priced oysters from 3pm to 6pm – Monday thru Friday.