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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Crawfish Roban from Semolina’s

Updated: Jan 4, 2020

Gary Darling, Hans Limburg and Greg Reggio are know as the Taste Buds. Together they have developed Semolina’s restaurant as well as Zea’ Rotisserie.  This recipe is taken from Kit Wohl’s New Orleans Classic Seafood.

How much is there to say about three indentured chefs who were hanging out on a beach in Hawaii, cooking for a celebrity event, and said the heck with working back home in the corporate kitchen.

“We’re serfs,” said Gary. “No, we’re surfing,” corrected Greg. “That’s the point,” explained Hans. “Enough suits in our lives. We quit,” they agreed. They named themselves the Taste Buds, and the trio went on to max out their credit cards and wield a hammer. That was while they were testing new dishes in their kitchens at home. Gary Darling, Hans Limburg and Greg Reggio developed Semolina, which took off like crazy. They devised outrageous dishes to match their personalities; prepared à la minute – at the last minute. Semolina became so popular that the restaurant grew to several locations. Then they created Zea Rotisserie, another exciting restaurant that continues to expand. Now Semolina has evolved to embrace Bistro Italia, incorporating Mediterranean style dishes and other culinary escapades. Will they ever stop? Probably not. Failure is easy; success is demanding. For the Taste Buds, their corporate success might qualify them for suits, which is OK, as long as it’s bathing suits. The beach is a long way, but not that long.

The Taste Buds named this dish after Lionel Robin, a chef friend who serves up some of the best crawfish dishes in southeast Louisiana from Henderson, La., just east of Breaux Bridge. His name is pronounced Roban, but naming a crawfish dish after him was a challenge since no one would know how to say it correctly–hence the creative spelling of his name as it is said, not read.

Makes 6 servings

Crawfish Roban:

1/4 cup unsalted butter 1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails, fresh or frozen 2 cups Roban sauce 1 1/2 pounds pasta shells, medium sized, cooked 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped

Roban Sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter 1/4 cup garlic, minced 1 cup green onions, finely chopped 1 quart  heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon Chef Paul’s blackened redfish seasoning to taste  salt and white pepper

Melt butter in a 12 inch or larger heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the garlic and green onions and cook over a medium fire until the garlic releases its flavor, about 3 minutes.

Pour in the heavy cream, reduce the heat, and cook over low heat. The sauce will be very thin until the mixture is reduced by nearly one-half. Stir the sauce often and do not allow the mixture to stick. The sauce is reduced to the proper consistency when it is thick enough to heavily coat the back of the sppom, about 20-30 minutes.

When sauce is ready, add the blackened redifsh seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce the heat. Drain any liquid from the crawfish tails and add tails to the saucepan. Simmer over low heat, about 5 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and pour over cooked pasta. Toss to completely coat the pasta with the sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Garnish with finely chopped green onions. Serve immediately.


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