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Crawfish Two Ways

I was invited to dinner by some friends nearby and the hostess wanted me to bring an appetizer. I had a pound of frozen crawfish tails and had been wanting to do a recipe I saw on blue crab beignets, but instead of the expensive crab I substituted crawfish. Since the recipe called for only 6 ounces and I had 16 ounces of crawfish tails I thought I would use the rest in a creamy crawfish pasta. So here are the recipes for a wonderful appetizer and another for a main course. Crawfish are in and the price is somewhat down since the cold weather made their price spike during the winter. So enjoy these little mud bugs.

 

Recipe from La Petite Grocery on Magazine Street in New Orleans and Chef Justin Devillier.

Crawfish Beignets

Makes about 3 dozen beignets

You will need a deep fry thermometer for this recipe.

For the Filling:

½ small shallot, finely chopped

6 ounces crawfish tails, chopped into smaller pieces

1/3 cup mascarpone

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Kosher salt

For the batter:

Approximately 4 cups vegetable oil for frying

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for finishing

1 cup amber lager

 

Make the filling: Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl and season with salt. Fold to combine and set aside: (Mixture can be made up to 4 hours ahead-cover and kept in the fridge.)

Make the batter: In a large saucepan fitted with a deep-fry thermometer over medium-high heat, pour the oil to a depth of 6 inches. Heat until thermometer registers 375 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk together

Creamy Crawfish Pasta
Serves 6-8
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 green pepper, diced small
1 onion, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
12 ounces crawfish tails, thawed
¾ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
16 ounces penne pasta (cooked according to directions on box)
Chopped parsley, for serving
In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onions, and celery, and sauté until tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the flour until the vegetables are well-coated and no white clumps remain. Stir in the tomato paste until completely combined.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and crawfish to the Dutch oven; let the wine simmer out for a couple of minutes. Pour in the heavy cream. Add the Creole seasoning, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground pepper. Cook the sauce at a gentle boil until it is thickened and coats the back of the spoon, about 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Fold the pasta into the crawfish sauce. Stir in a handful of chopped parsley. Serve the crawfish pasta with additional red pepper flakes, hot sauce, freshly grated Parmesan, and slices of toasted garlic bread.