01 June 2015

Fathers Day Appetizer, Easy Party Recipe: Creole Crawfish Dip


Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Creole Crawfish Dip includes lots of Creole mustard and ketchup, plus artichoke hearts, capers and green onions.
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS

From Denny:  This is one of those dishes that depends upon the butter and the mustard to act as your sauce to hold the chunky ingredients like the crawfish, artichoke hearts and capers.  

Definitely not a low calorie dish but worth the tasting for the intense delicious flavor.  Health wise, mustard and horseradish are great digestives for rich food like butter.  Choose a large cracker of your choice to balance the weight and bulkiness of the seafood.

Of course, don't despair if you don't have crawfish available in your area:  try shrimp or a meaty flavorful fish you enjoy.  Experiment with different ideas to discover what pleases you, your family and friends.  Actually, if you were not in the mood for seafood you could use chopped up rotisserie chicken and add some bits of smokey bacon or pancetta and tone down the spices if your family finds it too hot.  That is always a winning combination.  This might even be good with a smokey firm tofu.  Usually what I do is try the recipe as written and then make it again with a different protein, experimenting with the spices.  

As I'm always preaching on my food blogs:  take the extra time to clarify your butter whenever possible.  You won't regret it as it gets rid of the unhealthy milk solids that clog your arteries.

Just use a simple wire mesh tea strainer (normally used for loose tea), press through just the oil and then dump out the browned milk solids onto a folded paper towel for disposal.  Folding a paper towel into long quarters makes it easier to just roll up the mess and toss it. If you have "select-a-size" paper towels then use three layered up to catch the oil.  Otherwise, you waste time cleaning the oily counter.  Why retake the same kitchen counter real estate twice?  I'd rather focus on the fun and creativity of the cooking instead of redoing over and over again a time-consuming cleaning process.

Clarifying out those milk solids can be taken to one more step by browning them over medium low to medium heat until they sink to the bottom of the pan.  Remember to stand back as the butter comes to a higher temperature because it begins to release the water from the fat and it can pop up really high and splatter you if you are not paying close attention.  The temptation is to turn up the heat to medium high to get it going and then turn it down to medium low heat.  But it's better to just wait it out on medium low heat.  Yes, I have walked away while trying to rush the process, distracted by something else, and lived to regret it when I returned. :)

That extra time gives the remaining clear oil a more rich nutty flavor and deeper golden color that is so appealing.  I always use unsalted butter so I can control how much salt (preferably sea salt) goes into any dish where I use the clarified butter.  If you don't have much time or inclination you can find clarified butter in jars at Trader Joe's grocery for a very reasonable price.  If you want to get that nutty flavor you will still have to heat the Trader Joe's clarified butter to take it to the browned milk solids level.  But hey! at least buying it in a jar saves you half the time!

Oh, and be sure to check out the ads for products in my Denny Lyon Gifts store at Cafe Press.  It's a bit of creative fun for me as an artist when I'm not writing.  I do a lot of humor, inspirations, family items, tech cases, pets, sports, some vintage too - lots of areas to choose.  

I send the profits to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  The food bank feeds almost half of Louisiana. St. Jude's has been awesome to the sick children and their parents here with all the outrageous cancers resulting from the chemical plants all up and down the Gulf Coast, otherwise known as "Cancer Alley" regionally.  

The doctors have studied the cancer clusters here so much that when a child comes in for diagnosis they have been known to tell the parents exactly where they live within a block of their house.  Sad but true.  

I really like St. Jude's philosophy of never turning anyone away and also providing accommodations for the parents, including food.  Now that's awesome in my book!  And hey! if you don't see anything you want to purchase at the Denny Lyon Gifts store, then please consider a direct donation to St. Jude's.


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Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Creole Crawfish Dip includes lots of Creole mustard and ketchup, plus artichoke hearts, capers and green onions.


Creole Crawfish Dip

Makes: about “two appetizer bowls worth of dip.”
From:  Lacy Bofinger, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Ingredients:

1 pound crawfish tails
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 stick butter (4 Tablespoons)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning such as Tony Chachere’s
1 (5 + 1/2-oz.) jar Creole mustard (or brown mustard if Creole mustard not available)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons horseradish
1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup capers
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Directions:

1. Rinse crawfish and saut√© in lemon juice, lemon pepper and Creole seasoning about 3 minutes or until done. (Don’t overcook). Set aside to cool.

2. Mix mustard, ketchup and horseradish in a bowl. Place crawfish, artichokes, capers and green onions in mixture and toss until coated. Refrigerate to chill. Serve with your favorite great tasting crackers or toast points.



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