Season of the Crawfish

7 Different Types of Recipes

Eugenia Uhl

This is the season when crawfish fever grips Louisiana. In the evening, the spicy aromas emanating from big crawfish boiling pots float like clouds over backyard fences, mingling with sweet jasmine and the smell of freshly mown lawns. When we’re not eating boiled crawfish, we’re cooking up something with the crawfish tails left over from the last boil. The little crustacean is a highly adaptable ingredient that can be prepared in an almost infinite variety of ways.










 


Spaghetti With Crawfish and Red Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can tomato puree
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon cane syrup
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Creole seasoning and hot sauce to taste
1 pound cooked and peeled crawfish tails, with fat
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot; add the onion, bell pepper and garlic; and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree, chicken stock, wine and cane syrup. Season with salt, pepper, Creole seasoning and hot sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add crawfish and chopped parsley, and simmer an additional 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings.
Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Drain, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the sauce, and toss. Serve with grated Parmesan. Serves 4-6 or more.


Crawfish Etouffee

1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 pound cooked and peeled crawfish tails, with fat
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/4  cup all-purpose flour
Creole seasoning and hot sauce to taste
1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
1/4 cup chopped parsley
In a heavy pot on medium heat, melt the butter and cook the onions and celery until softened, about 15 minutes. Add the crawfish and fat. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cold chicken stock and the flour until smooth. Add this mixture to the pot. Season to taste with Creole seasoning and hot sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; and simmer until thickened and crawfish are tender, about 30 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Add the onion tops and parsley. Serve over cooked rice. Serves about 4.


Crawfish-and-Crab Stew

3 cups chicken stock or broth
3 tablespoons dry roux
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cooked and peeled crawfish tails, with fat
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper and hot sauce to taste
1 pound crabmeat
1/2 cup chopped green onion tops
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Bring the chicken stock to a boil, and whisk in the dry roux to dissolve. Add the bay leaf, reduce heat, and simmer. Meanwhile, in a heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock with roux, crawfish and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, cayenne and hot sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the crabmeat, and adjust the seasonings. Cook only until crabmeat is heated through. Add the chopped green onion tops and parsley. Serve over rice. Serves about 6.


Individual Crawfish Pot Pies

Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter
3-4 tablespoons ice-cold water
In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour and salt to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces, and add it to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing it in with a fork, until dough forms. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, and shape it into a disc. Divide the dough into four discs, and wrap each in wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling:
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon dry roux
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound cooked and peeled crawfish tails, with fat
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
Creole seasoning to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy pot; add the onion, bell pepper and celery; and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring  the chicken stock to a boil in a small pot, and whisk in the roux to dissolve. Add the stock to the vegetable mixture. Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the crawfish and green peas, and season with Creole seasoning and black pepper. Divide the mixture among four 8-ounce baking dishes, leaving a space at the top of each for expansion. The recipe may be prepared to this point a day in advance and refrigerated. If refrigerated, allow baking dishes and contents to come to room temperature before proceeding. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
On a floured surface, roll out a disc of dough so that it is at least an inch larger than the baking dish. Place the dough on
the baking dish, and press the edges to seal. Leave about a half-inch overhang, and trim any excess. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the dishes on a heavy baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat each crust with an egg wash. Cut vents in each crust. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven, and bake until the crusts are browned, about 30 minutes. Makes 4 individual pot pies.


Spicy Crawfish Spread

1 1/2 cups cooked and peeled crawfish tails, with fat
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 teaspoons lemon juice
Creole seasoning and hot sauce to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Combine the crawfish, butter and lemon juice in a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Season generously with Creole seasoning and hot sauce, and pulse to combine. Adjust seasonings. Add parsley, and pulse to combine. Makes about 2 cups.












 


Smothered Okra and Crawfish

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound okra, trimmed and sliced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 pound peeled and cooked crawfish tails, with fat
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste
In a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole, cook the onions, garlic and okra in oil on medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice and the chicken stock. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the okra is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Add the crawfish; season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Simmer for 10-20 minutes. Serve over rice, if desired. Serves about 4.






 


Boiled Crawfish

There are as many recipes and techniques for boiling crawfish as there are people who boil crawfish, and each cook will swear that his (or her, although men tend to dominate the boiling pot) way is the absolute best. Truth is, there are gradations of excellence, but it’s rare that you’ll have bad boiled crawfish unless the crawfish were inferior to begin with, there was too much cayenne or salt in the water or the crawfish were overcooked and mushy.
It’s best to have a large pot with a removable basket and an outdoor burner. Season the water with crab boil, salt, additional cayenne if desired and cut lemons. Bring the water to a boil, and let it boil for, say, 10 minutes, before adding vegetables and crawfish to the pot. Usually the crawfish, as well as other additions, such as onions, garlic, small red potatoes, corn, smoked sausage and artichokes, are cooked together. Another method involves cooking all the other ingredients before cooking the crawfish. The advantage is that it’s easier to control the cooking times of each of the additions, plus guests can begin snacking before the crawfish are served.
Boiling times for crawfish can vary a great deal, depending on the size of your pot, the heat of your burner and the size of the crawfish. Many instructions call for boiling the crawfish for 10 minutes after the pot returns to a boil, while others recommend additional cooking. But it’s prudent to retrieve a crawfish from time to time so you can peel it and test for doneness. Once the crawfish are cooked, some cooks add ice to the water and let the crawfish sit in the water for five or 10 minutes to absorb the seasoning. Others remove the crawfish and sprinkle additional seasoning on them once they are on the table.

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