It’s time to celebrate because good crawfish are back in New Orleans. This year’s rare winter freeze left us with small pitiful crawfish for a time, but they are now plump and plentiful. You’ll find them at supermarkets, corner grocery stores and local bars.
During Jazz Fest, the scent of boiling crawfish came from every backyard in my neighborhood. But if you’ve had enough boils to last you a while, here’s a crawfish dish for two, made right in your kitchen.
1 1/2 cups crawfish tails
(I buy about 3 ½ pounds of local, cooked crawfish and peel them to yield 1 ½ cups crawfish tails. If you buy frozen, look for local rather than imported. They cost less and are tastier.)
½ pound uncooked rotini
1/4 cup water reserved from cooking pasta
1 cup Guidry’s mix, or Louisiana Choice mix*
( If you can’t find this, use 1/3 cup chopped onion, 1/3 cup chopped green pepper, 1/3 cup chopped celery, 1 garlic clove, 1 tablespoon parsley.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning or Emeril’s Essence to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups heavy cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Green onions, chopped, for garnish
*If you don’t live in Louisiana, you may not be able to buy chopped and packaged seasoning mix. Chop onion, celery, bell pepper. Throw in a garlic clove chopped fine and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.
As you cook this dish, remember that your personal taste should dictate seasoning. Tony’s and Parmesan cheese contain a lot of salt. Often a great deal of seasoning is added to the water in which the crawfish are boiled. Taste as you make the dish and add salt as your palate requires.
STEP BY STEP:
1) Peel crawfish and set aside.
2) Chop onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, parsley and set aside or use store-bought mix.
3) Cook the pasta al dente, following package directions. Don’t over-cook because the pasta will be mixed with other ingredients and cooked again. Set aside. Save ¼ cup pasta water.
4) Heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic, parsley. Add Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and all vegetables are soft.
5) Add the white wine and reduce by half, or cook until nearly all is evaporated, about 3-4 minutes.
6) Turn the heat to medium and add crawfish tails, basil, thyme, and lemon juice. Mix all these ingredients together, letting them (especially the herbs) release their flavors without over-cooking the crawfish. Cook for just a few minutes. Remember the tails have been cooked previously in boiling water.
7) Turn the burner to low and stir in the heavy cream, which is at room temperature. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until cream is slightly reduced and begins to thicken.
8) Stir in the Parmesan cheese and turn off the burner before cheese begins to stick and/or burn on the bottom of the pot.
9) Mix together the crawfish mixture with the pasta and pasta water.
10) Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of green onions.