*** Louisiana crawfish come from fresh water and are safe from the Gulf oil spill. Enjoy Crawfish Casserole, Crawfish Corn Bread and Crawfish Tortellini this crawfish season!
Photo by adie reed @ flickr
From Denny: With all the high drama unfolding out in the Gulf of Mexico from this BP oil spill the past month, people are confused as to which seafood is still safe to eat. Farmed crawfish come from inland fresh water ponds and are the primary source for the crop. Those inland sources are far from coastal contamination.
The government has prohibited fishing in specific areas of the Gulf affected by the oil spill. Fortunately, there are fresh water Louisiana fish and crustaceans still to be enjoyed this summer like crawfish and catfish.
The Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner, Mike Strain, gave the OK on Louisiana crawfish this month. He says our crawfish are not affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.
Robert Romaire, LSU AgCenter aquaculture professor, said “Crawfish are raised in freshwater ponds and the Atchafalaya Basin,” Romaire said. “There are no crawfish ponds sufficiently close to the coast that can be impacted by the oil spill. Actually,” he added, “LSU AgCenter statistics from the past decade show a large percentage of the crawfish crop is harvested from ponds. More than 98 million pounds of crawfish came from domestic ponds in 2009,” Romaire said. “The wild crawfish crop accounted for nearly 15.5 million pounds.”
What about purchasing frozen or fresh crawfish tail meat? Remember, it's USDA-inspected and approved - and in proper cold storage.
For anyone living in the New Jersey area who like to go to the Crawfish Fest festival slated for June 4 - 6, check out CrawfishFest.com. Louisiana live crawfish will be shipped from crawfish farms only to the festival. Raw or grilled Louisiana oysters may have to be removed from the 2010 Crawfish Fest menu. That determination will be made closer to the festival date. They have been holding this festival for 21 years now.
After you go to a crawfish boil or two Louisiana folks usually start the round of various popular crawfish dishes. These three are easy to make and delicious crowd pleasers. If you don't have crawfish in your area you can substitute your favorite fresh seafood like clams, shrimp or fish.
Crawfish Corn Bread
LeBlanc Crawfish Casserole
From: Laura LeBlanc was featured in the October, 1993 Food Focus cookbook “Making Memories” and was another “Best of the Best” recipe selection for 1993
Serves: 8 to 10
1 stick margarine plus 2 tbls. margarine
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 cup canned sliced mushrooms, drained
2 tbls. finely minced garlic
2 lbs. peeled crawfish tails
1 (103/4-oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
2 to 3 cups cooked rice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 dashes white pepper
1-1/2 to 2 cups grated Velveeta cheese
1 cup canned fried onion rings
1. In a small skillet, melt 1 stick margarine. Cube cream cheese and add to the melted margarine. Stir over low heat until cream cheese is melted. Set aside.
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons margarine and sauté the onions and bell pepper until vegetables are tender. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and minced garlic. Add crawfish tails and cook until heated through.
3. Add the mushroom soup and 2 to 3 cups cooked rice. Stir the cream cheese and margarine mixture into the crawfish mixture. Stir and season to taste with peppers.
4. Place mixture in greased (4-quart) casserole or several casserole dishes. Top with grated Velveeta cheese and fried onion rings. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Note from Laura LeBlanc: Freezes well and can be made a day before you need to serve it. Shrimp can be substituted for crawfish.
Testing note: Food editor Tommy Simmons made the recipe as directed and then transferred the cooked crawfish and rice casserole to a slow cooker to keep it hot for serving at a church luncheon.
Crawfish Corn Bread
From: “River Road Recipes IV Warm Welcomes” published by the Junior League of Baton Rouge
Serves: 8 to 10
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup (4 tbls.) butter
2 jalapeño chilies, chopped
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tbl. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 cups (6 ozs.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 (15-oz.) can cream-style corn
1 cup milk
1/2 cup pecan oil or vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb. peeled crawfish tails
1. Sauté the yellow onion, bell pepper and green onions in the butter in a skillet until tender. Stir in the jalapeño chilies.
2. Combine the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl and mix well.
3. Stir the cheese, corn, milk, oil and eggs into the cornmeal mixture. Add the onion mixture and mix well. Stir in the crawfish tails.
4. Spoon the batter into a greased 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until light brown. Serve with a bowl of soup and/or a mixed green salad. You may bake the cornbread in a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.
From: Frances Cangelosi and was selected as one of The Advocate Food section’s “Best of the Best” in 2003
Serves: 6 to 8. This dish freezes well.
1 stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 pods garlic, minced
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. crawfish tails rinsed very slightly
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 pints whipping cream
1 to 2 tbls. cornstarch dissolved in a small amount of water or milk
3/4 of a (20-oz.) pkg. of fresh tortellini with cheese
1. In the butter, sauté the onion and garlic.
2. Add crawfish tails. Cook about 5 minutes.
3. Add Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, whipping cream and dissolved cornstarch. Stir into a sauce and heat until thick.
4. Boil tortellini according to package instructions. Drain.
5. Fold in sauce with the cooked tortellini. Season to taste with salt and red pepper. Serve immediately or put in a casserole to be heated at 350 degrees until heated through.
Note: Camille Cassidy makes this recipe often for family and guests. She usually doubles it to serve a crowd — sometimes making two double batches for a large group. She likes to add a little bit of liquid crab boil to the dish.
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