Crawfish season is has arrived once again. After the crawfish boil is over; the newspaper containing the shells and corn cobs is discarded; and the crawfish pot is emptied and cleaned; what do we do with the leftover crustaceans? We peel them and create memorable meals with the delectable morsels. If there are no leftovers from the boil, there are peeled and frozen crawfish available at your local supermarket. There is just one caveat; never buy frozen crawfish from China. Read the label carefully to make sure they were neither raised nor processed in Asia. That being said, ironically the first recipe has an Asian origin.
Crawfish Fried Rice
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 bunch green onions finely sliced, separate the white from the green
3 eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt and pepper
1-pound shelled crawfish
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups cooked rice at least a day old
Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet and set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the skillet and set aside. Scramble the eggs until set, remove from skillet. Add the reserved bacon grease and the white part of the sliced onion, toss in the crawfish and heat through. Add the rice, soy sauce, and prepared eggs. Gently toss until rice is coated and heated through. Garnish with crumbled bacon and the sliced green part of the onions.
Serves 4 to 6
Other leftovers in the refrigerator can be tossed into the basic recipe. Small amounts of vegetables, chopped ham, cooked pork, or beef are good add ins.
Crawfish and Pasta Salad
1-pound peeled crawfish
1-pound small shell pasta cooked according to package directions and drained
1 green pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 can pitted black olives, drained and sliced (optional)
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
4 hard cooked eggs, quartered
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 head curly lettuce, washed and dried
Combine crawfish, cooked pasta, and black olives. Add one half cup of the dressing to the crawfish pasta mixture and gently toss. Arrange lettuce on a platter and place crawfish pasta mixture in the center. Garnish with the sliced green pepper, black olives, tomatoes, hard cooked eggs, and artichoke hearts. Serve immediately with the remaining dressing on the side.
Serves 4 to 6
Three fourth cup extra virgin olive oil
One half cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
One fourth cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 cloves garlic, pressed
One teaspoon Creole seasoning
One half teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.
Makes about 2 cups
The next recipe can be prepared quickly. Use whatever pasta you have in the pantry. Be sure to grate the lemon before you cut it. Taste the crawfish before adding salt.
One stick butter
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
One half cup fresh lemon juice
One half teaspoon salt
1-pound peeled crawfish
1 bunch flat leaf parsley finely chopped, do not use the dried parsley flakes unless you like the taste of lawn clippings
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1-pound thin spaghetti or linguini, cooked according to package directions
Melt the butter over medium heat; add the sliced onions, garlic, lemon rind, juice, and salt. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Gently fold in the crawfish and heat through. Stir in parsley and Tabasco. Serve at once over the prepared pasta
Last, but not least, is the crawfish dish which everyone’s mama or grandmother prepares better than anyone else does. This dish improves with age. I suggest cooking it the day before and allowing it to mellow in the refrigerator, so the ingredients become best friends. Once that light goes off in the refrigerator and the door closes, no one knows what happens in the cold and dark. So, let’s go smother some crawfish.
4 ounces butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
One third cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, strings removed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups seafood or chicken stock, more may need to be added when reheating
One half teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1-pound peeled crawfish tails with fat if you have it
Combine the butter and oil in a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Stir until butter is melted. Slowly stir in the flour. Reduce heat to medium low and stir constantly until a medium brown (the color of peanut butter) roux forms. This can take up to 20 minutes to occur. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Stir until the vegetables are wilted and covered with the roux. Slowly stir in the stock, continue stirring until completely combined. Raise heat to medium and bring to a slow boil. Stir in the cayenne, parsley, and crawfish tails. Reduce to a simmer and cook an additional 10 minutes. Can be served immediately or reheated. Serve with hot, cooked rice.
This recipe multiplies easily.
Enjoy the little red crustaceans while they are in season and freeze some for later use.
Linda is a contributing writer for the Sea Coast Echo and can be reached at email@example.com.