News from the Tennessee Valley Food

The parish voted to add Crab Cakes and Shrimp Pasta Salad to the annual St. Ann's Seafood Festival.
Daily photo by John Godbey
The parish voted to add Crab Cakes and Shrimp Pasta Salad to the annual St. Ann's Seafood Festival.

Seafood to
make a splash

2 new dishes at St. Ann's
festival this weekend

By Patrice Stewart ∑ 340-2446

The parish voted. The pastor approved.

The latest menu additions for the St. Ann's Seafood Festival are, after all, important parish business. The funds raised at the 19th annual Seafood Festival this weekend will go to an education foundation to support St. Ann's Catholic School.

Father Ray Remke and Tim Carter give the new seafood dishes a taste test.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Father Ray Remke and Tim Carter give the new seafood dishes a taste test.
Be sure to try the new items — Crab Cakes and Shrimp Pasta Salad — when you head for St. Ann's Family Life Center on Saturday or Sunday. You can eat some dishes there and take others home for later.

If you've grown fond of their seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, boiled shrimp, fried catfish, fish and shrimp poorboys, spiced corn and red potatoes through the years, they're still on the menu, too. Hot dogs, soft drinks, pralines and other homemade desserts also will be served.

Buck Padgett expects a busy weekend. He will oversee the new items, as well as help cook catfish.

But the Moulton man, a parish member who has two daughters finishing the seventh and third grades there, knows it's all for a good cause.

"We had only planned to add one item to the menu, but they let the parish membership vote on it, and it was a tie. So now we're doing both Crab Cakes and Shrimp Pasta Salad," he said.

Padgett and the food committee came up with the idea of the salad with shrimp and pasta shells at the end of last year's event when they had a bit of shrimp left over from making gumbo.

"We were all hot when we cooked the leftover shrimp," he recalled.

They realized they needed to add something cool to the menu, which was heavy with hot dishes.

Cold dish

"Somebody said the shrimp would be good in a cold pasta salad, so we're making one with fresh peas and a ranch dressing base instead of an Italian dressing base, which we thought might overpower the shrimp," Padgett said.

He shared the recipe for the salad, which also includes Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and chopped red and green peppers, olives, onions and cherry tomatoes.

Padgett wants to keep his version of crab cakes a secret, however, "since we kind of developed it ourselves. But it's a real meaty crab cake with very little filler in it."

He uses an ice cream scoop to get the size and shape right and uses a lot of sweet red pepper, chopped green pepper, oregano and parsley, "but it's more crabmeat than anything," he said.

He expects to cook about 300 crab cakes in the convection ovens in St. Ann's kitchen just before serving time.

Father Ray Remke sampled the new dishes last week and gave his blessing.

His favorite? "It's got to be the crab cakes," he said. "But the pasta salad is a good new item, too."

"You'll get your Omega 3 fatty acids in those crab cakes," said Beth Carter, who, with husband Tim, will be among the many assisting Padgett and others in getting the food ready for the hundreds of area residents who go there for dinner.

"We've streamlined this process as much as we can," said Padgett, who has helped cook for five years.

They will do a lot of chopping of peppers, onions and other items this week and begin mixing items Friday night.

All the seafood will be cooked there at St. Ann's on Saturday and Sunday.

The crabmeat, plus the shrimp for the gumbo and other items, all come from the Gulf of Mexico.

350 pounds of shrimp

"We'll have 350 pounds of boiled shrimp, plus more in the 360 gallons of gumbo, and about 250 pounds of catfish," Padgett said.

More shrimp and catfish will be turned into 400 poorboy sandwiches.

Crawfish was under consideration as a new dish, too, Padgett said, "but nobody here really got into the crawfish — it only got five votes."

If you go

What: 19th annual St. Annís Seafood Festival

When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: St. Annís Family Life Center, next to Annunciation of the Lord Catholic Church, 3910A Spring Ave. S.W., Decatur

Related activities: A Parish/Community Yard Sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., plus an inflatable bouncer for children and musical entertainment for all ages indoors and out all day Saturday

Call: 353-2667

Shrimp Pasta Salad

4 cups pasta shells, cooked and drained

1 cup peas, frozen, thawed

1/4 cup green peppers, chopped

1/4 cup sweet red peppers, chopped

1/4 cup onions, finely chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 can black olives, chopped

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (or mixed cheeses)

2 cups mayonnaise

2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing (powdered)

2 cups small cooked shrimp, peeled

1 pinch white pepper

Cook pasta until tender, but do not overcook. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well.

In large bowl, combine all ingredients.

Toss gently but blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. If texture is dry, add more mayonnaise.

Serve over lettuce leaves. Makes 10 servings of 1 cup each.

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