Utilizing your leftovers: Crawfish recipes for even the most discerning South Louisianan

 

The old saying is “April showers bring May flowers,” but as southern Louisiana Cajuns, we know what the best thing about Spring truly is.

Some call them mud bugs while others call them crawdads, but one thing that nearly every South Louisiana native can agree to call the red swamp crawfish is “delicious.”

Crawfish is easily the number one delicacy of Louisiana. Whether they are boiled, stewed or ground into bisque, Cajuns will find a way to put crawfish into just about any dish imaginable.

Although boiled crawfish may be the most popular method of mudbug munching (just take a walk by the football stadium today to see for yourself), it is only the tip of the iceberg in ways to eat Louisiana’s favorite food.

Courtesy of Chef John Folse’s Website, jfolse.com, here are four recipes to try this crawfish season. Some may be familiar, and others may be a little out of the ordinary.

Crawfish Omelette

PREP TIME: 30 minutes

SERVES: 6

“Nothing is more appropriate for a breakfast or brunch buffet than a full-flavored omelette. The Cajuns have their own version of this dish, and it normally includes fresh seasonal seafood. When combined with colored peppers and a touch of garlic, crawfish makes the best of the Cajun omelettes, in my opinion.”

-jfolse.comINGREDIENTS:

1 lb cooked crawfish tails

1 cup butter

1 cup minced red bell pepper

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup sliced green onions

1 tbsp chopped parsley

8 eggs

1 cup milk

salt and cracked black pepper to taste

1 tsp Worcestershire sauceMETHOD:

-In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat butter over medium high heat. Add bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms and green onions. Sauté three to five minutes or until vegetables are wilted.

-Add crawfish, green onions and parsley. Continue to sauté an additional five minutes.

-In a small mixing bowl, place eggs and milk. Using a wire whisk beat until well blended. Season to taste using salt, pepper and Worcestershire. Pour egg/milk mixture over crawfish and stir gently.

-When eggs are set, turn omelette onto a platter.Crawfish Burger

PREP TIME: 30 minutes

SERVES: 10 – 12″In Cajun country, Louisiana’s favorite ‘mud bugs’ are often found nestled between hamburger buns as an alternative to ground meat.”

-jfolse.comINGREDIENTS:

2 lbs cleaned crawfish tails

2 cups onions, diced

2 cups celery, diced

1 cup bell pepper, diced

2 tbsps garlic, diced

3 eggs, beaten

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups unseasoned flourMETHOD:

-Grind crawfish, onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in a home-style meat grinder or Cuisinart.

-Once ground, add eggs and season to taste using salt and pepper. Add breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time, to absorb any excess liquid. Add parsley. Mold all ingredients into hamburger-style patties.

-In a 10-inch cast iron skillet add vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat. Dust each crawfish patty with flour and sauté in skillet until golden brown on both sides.

-Remove, drain well and prepare as you would any hamburger.Louisiana Style Crawfish Etouffee

PREP TIME: 1 hour

SERVES: 6INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds cleaned crawfish tails

1/4 pound butter

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup tomatoes, diced

2 tbsps garlic, diced

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 cup flour

2 quarts crawfish stock or water

1 ounce sherry

1 cup green onions, chopped

1 cup parsley, chopped

salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Louisiana Gold Pepper Sauce

2 cups white rice, steamedMETHOD:

-In a two-gallon stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are wilted, approximately 3-5 minutes.

-Add crawfish tails and tomato sauce and blend well into mixture. Using a wire whip, blend flour into the vegetable mixture to form a white roux.

-Slowly add crawfish stock or water, a little at a time, until sauce consistency is achieved. Continue adding more stock as necessary to retain consistency. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

-Add sherry, green onions and parsley and cook an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste using salt and cayenne pepper.

-Serve over steamed white rice using a few dashes of Louisiana Gold Pepper Sauce.John’s Bulk Crawfish Bisque

PREP TIME: 2 hours

SERVES: 20INGREDIENTS FOR STUFFED HEADS:

9 pounds cleaned crawfish tails

200 cleaned crawfish heads

2 jumbo onions, peeled and quartered

2 large bell peppers, cleaned and quartered

1/2 bunch celery, cleaned

1/2 cup garlic, minced

1 bunch fresh parsley

2 bunches fresh green onions

5 whole eggs

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/4 cup thyme leaves, chopped

22 ounces seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

salt and black pepper to taste

Zatarain’s Creole seasoning to tasteMETHOD:

-Here in Cajun country, you may purchase the heads of the crawfish fully cleaned, frozen and ready for stuffing.

-If you are using cleaned crawfish heads, rinse them thoroughly and place them in a bowl of extremely hot water for 30 minutes. This will make the heads pliable and ready for filling.

-If they are not available in your area, you may simply roll the stuffing into small meatballs and add to the sauce later.

-Using a home-style meat grinder, grind 5 pounds of crawfish tails alternating with the onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic, parsley and green onions. It is important to grind these in an alternating fashion to incorporate the seasonings and tail meat completely.

-Place the ground ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add eggs, basil, thyme and Italian breadcrumbs. Season to taste using salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

-Here, I suggest you form a small patty of stuffing and pan-fry to check for seasonings and flavor. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

-I suggest using a pastry bag and fill each head to its maximum. If a pastry bag is unavailable, open the heads as wide as possible, without breaking, and hand stuff.

-Place the stuffed heads on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Set aside.INGREDIENTS FOR

SAUCE:

2 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups flour

4 cups onions, diced

2 cups celery, diced

2 cups bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup garlic, minced

16 ounces tomato sauce

5 quarts water

1 cup green onions, sliced

3/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/4 cup thyme leaves, chopped

salt and black pepper to taste

Zatarain’s Creole seasoning to tasteMETHOD:

-In a 3-gallon Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and, using a wire whisk, stir until a dark brown roux is achieved. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic.

-Cook 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are wilted. Add tomato sauce and remaining 4 pounds of crawfish tails.

-Cook 10-15 minutes and add water, 1 quart at a time, blending well into the mixture. Continue to add liquid until stew-like consistency is achieved.

-Add green onions, parsley, basil and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes, adding additional liquid as necessary to retain consistency.

-Season to taste using salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Add cooked, stuffed heads to the stew, stirrin
g gently into the gravy.

-Continue to simmer for 30 additional minutes. During this process, stuffing from the heads will settle to the bottom of the pot, making scorching a high possibility.

-You must stir fairly often at this point and keep the stew on a low simmer to prevent scorching. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

-When ready to serve, place 8-10 stuffed heads along with ample gravy over steamed white rice.