Crawfish Recipes

Crawfish season is here, which means tails in everything. Here are some recipes to get you started.
Feature Recipes Open

It’s the height of crawfish season, and as much as we love our weekly crawfish boils, we also enjoy those little crustaceans in other preparations.

For a change of pace, try a crawfish etouffée enriched with shrimp and lump crabmeat, mirlitons stuffed with crawfish, fried crawfish with an elegant béarnaise sauce or a gratin of crawfish and eggplant. In Sweden, fresh dill is much loved with crawfish, so add that to the menu. Or, yet again, make a sumptuous dish of crawfish with saffron, artichoke hearts and green peas. That’s enough recipes for every night of the week that you don’t eat boiled crawfish.


Feature Recipes Mirlitons

Crawfish-Stuffed Mirlitons

Recipes often call for discarding the seed in a mirliton, but the seed is edible and very tasty. Known as mirliton in Louisiana, this member of the gourd family goes by a number of different names, including chayote, vegetable pear and custard marrow. Panko are Japanese-style crispy bread crumbs.

  • 2 mirlitons
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • coarse salt, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion tops
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • paprika for garnish

Cook mirlitons in salted boiling water until tender, about 60 minutes. Refresh under running cold water. When cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. Remove flesh, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell. Chop mirliton flesh and add to mixing bowl. Chop crawfish and add to mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet, cook onion in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and cook briefly. Add mirliton flesh and crawfish and simmer until heated through. Add lemon juice, bread crumbs and Parmesan and stir to combine. Season with salt, cayenne and black pepper. Stir in onion tops and parsley. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Fill mirliton shells with crawfish mixture and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika and bake until browned and heated through, about 30 minutes.

SERVES 4

Feature Recipes Peas

Crawfish with Saffron, Artichokes and Green Peas

The combination of crawfish tails, artichoke hearts and green peas has spring written all over it. The addition of prized saffron is a welcome bonus. Saffron, which comes from the stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower, is very expensive because of the tedious hand labor that goes into its harvest.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon saffron
  • 1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet or casserole. Add shallots and onions and cook over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add chicken broth, wine and lemon juice. Crumble saffron into pan, add artichoke hearts, return to a simmer, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Add crawfish tails, return to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add green peas, season with salt, black pepper and cayenne and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve over steamed rice.

SERVES 4

Feature Recipes Etoufee

Crawfish, Shrimp and Lump Crabmeat Etouffée

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • coarse salt and cayenne to taste
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion tops
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

In a heavy pot over medium heat, melt butter and cook onions and celery until softened, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together cold chicken both and flour until smooth. Add to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened and raw taste of flour disappears, about 30 minutes.

Add crawfish and cook an additional 15 minutes. Add lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp redden, about 5 minutes. Add lump crabmeat and cook only until crabmeat is heated through. Adjust seasonings. Add onion tops and parsley. Serve over steamed rice.

SERVES 6

Feature Recipes Eggplantparm

Gratin of Crawfish and Eggplant

  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 pound eggplant, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2½ cups peeled plum tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • coarse salt, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in large skillet and fry eggplant until colored on both sides, adding additional oil, if needed. Drain on paper towels. Cook onions in skillet until softened, then add garlic, tomatoes and crawfish and simmer until thickened. Season with salt, cayenne and black pepper.

Cover the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish with half of the eggplant. Add half the tomato and crawfish mixture. Cover with fresh basil leaves. Layer with additional eggplant and tomato-crawfish mixture. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated oven until bubbling and browned, about 25-30 minutes.

SERVES 4 OR MORE

Feature Recipes Asparagus

Crawfish with Asparagus and Fresh Dill

In Sweden, where crawfish are very popular, they are prepared with a dill sauce. Do not substitute dried dill for fresh in this recipe. Dill is a member of the parsley family, while asparagus belongs to the lily family. As with crawfish, both dill and asparagus are harbingers of spring.

  • 1 pound thin asparagus spears
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • coarse salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Put 6 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt in a nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Cut off the tough base of asparagus spears and discard. Cut spears into 1-inch lengths. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain in a colander and rinse under running cold water to stop the cooking.

Melt butter in a large, nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. When butter foams, add crawfish and cook for about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add asparagus and cream and cook, while shaking or stirring pan, until sauce thickens. Season with salt, white pepper and dill.

SERVES 4

Feature Recipes Fried

Fried Crawfish with Béarnaise

It’s difficult to choose which crawfish preparation one likes best. For many, boiled crawfish may top the list, but fried crawfish could be a contender. Béarnaise sauce, which is one of the aristocrats in the sauce world, is often served with steak, but it is also scrumptious with fried crawfish.

  • crawfish
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound peeled crawfish tails
  • béarnaise sauce
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, divided
  • 2 black peppercorns, bruised with the side of a large knife
  • pinch salt
  • dash cayenne
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup melted butter
FOR THE CRAWFISH

Heat oil in a fryer or deep pot. While oil is heating, pour buttermilk in a bowl and combine flour, corn flour and salt in a shallow pan. When oil has reached 375 F, dip crawfish tails in buttermilk, then dredge in flour mixture. Fry, in batches, to a golden brown. Remove fried crawfish with a skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven until all the crawfish are fried. Serve with béarnaise sauce.

FOR THE BÉARNAISE SAUCE

Combine wine, wine vinegar, shallots, 2 teaspoons tarragon, peppercorns, salt and cayenne in a small pan and boil until reduced to a few tablespoons. Transfer to a stainless steel mixing bowl and cool. Add egg yolks and whisk to combine. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and cook, while whisking, until mixture thickens. Begin slowly adding butter while continuing to whisk. Continue adding butter while whisking and moving bowl away from heat and then back, as needed, until all the butter has been incorporated. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a serving bowl. Add remaining fresh tarragon to sauce and stir to combine.

SERVES 4

 

 

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