New twist on crawfish pasta

Published 12:02 am Saturday, March 28, 2015

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We have been to New Orleans for the past two weekends and had some very good meals. Bayona, Susan Spicer’s restaurant, has a $25 lunch on Saturdays, and you can pick out three things among starters, mains, and desserts. You do not have to choose a dessert but could choose three starters. I like that since I rarely eat dessert. The portions are small but wonderful. I had a salad with blue cheese, a flat iron steak with Irish stew, and two cornmeal oysters with butterbeans. Seems like a lot, but it only made you want more of everything. The exciting event of the lunch was a huge rat running around the courtyard! Now those of us eating in the courtyard were not too fazed and just kept on eating. I think there have been some rats there before according to the wait staff; one had even jumped on a nun’s hat! They are trying to get rid of them ‘organically.’ I suspect they may need to be more aggressive.

My son was with us and kept talking about going to a crawfish boil that afternoon. Each year when crawfish season hits its stride there are crawfish boils all over the city. I am always trying new ways with these iconic, Louisiana crustaceans. Breads, pies, pastas—you name it. I recently tried a new crawfish pasta recipe, which was excellent, and also tried a crawfish frittata. This would be great for breakfast or a brunch. So get some of those crawfish and cook them while they are in season.

From Louisiana Cookin’ April 2015

Creamy Tomato

Crawfish Pasta

Makes about 4 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup chopped sweet onion

¼ cup chopped Fresno chili

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup sweet vermouth

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes

½ cup Creole cream cheese or crème fraîche (I used regular cream cheese)

½ pound crawfish tail meat

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ pound cooked capellini or angel hair pasta

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (Time to plant this year’s supply.)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (Time to get this started in the herb garden or pot, as well.)

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat; add onion and chili, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 30 seconds. Add vermouth, and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, gently breaking tomatoes with spoon.

Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Add Creole cream cheese, whisking until smooth, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in crawfish, salt, and pepper, and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in pasta, basil, and parsley, and stir until combined. Serve immediately.

Crawfish Boil Frittata

Makes about 8 servings

1 large red potato, cut ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)

½ cup chopped sweet onion (about ½ cup)

1 pound crawfish tail meat

2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, divided

10 large eggs

½ cup whipping cream

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

In a saucepan, add potatoes and salt, and cover with cold water. Over medium-high heat, bring potatoes to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high; stir in corn and onion, and cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in crawfish and 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream and remaining 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning until combined; add potatoes, crawfish mixture, goat cheese, and parsley, stirring until combined.

In a large oven-proof skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add egg mixture, and cook until bottom begins to set, about 5 minutes. Bake until eggs are set, about 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.