Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crazy 'Bout Crawfish

Crawfish Empanadas with Spicy Aioli

2 pre made piecrust pastry sheets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
1 clove chopped garlic
12 ounce package crawfish tails, thawed
1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses
1 egg white, beaten
4 to 6 cups vegetable oil
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Juice from one fresh lime
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
Salt and pepper

Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or cast iron Dutch oven. Remove the pastry sheets from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onions, bell peppers, and garlic until tender. Add crawfish and season with Tony’s, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Roll out the pastry and cut into rounds 5 inches in diameter. Brush edges with egg whites. Place about two or three heaping tablespoons of crawfish mixture in the middle of the round. Fold over and press down on the edges of the pastry with the ends of a fork to seal. Poke the middle of the empanada with a fork twice. Carefully lower each empanada into the hot oil and deep fry until golden brown. This recipe makes about 10 empanadas at this size; smaller size rounds and a lesser amount of the filling should be used for hors d’ oeuvres.

For the aioli, whisk together mayonnaise, garlic powder, lime juice, hot sauce and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and chill until ready to use. Drizzle over empanadas before serving.

Creamy Crawfish & Cheese Ravioli

1/2 stick butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
Cyan pepper, salt and white pepper to taste
1 pound cleaned crawfish tails
1/2 medium to large bell pepper
1 green onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-Package fresh or frozen cheese ravioli or tortellini, thawed
Parmesan cheese to garnish

Bring salted water to a boil in a medium stockpot. Add ravioli and cook for 4 to 5 minutes (see package for instructions as times may vary). In a heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Sauté until onions are clear and tender. Stir in crawfish tails and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly stir in heavy whipping cream then season with cyan pepper, salt and black pepper. Allow to simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes over low to medium heat until sauce thickens.
Place cooked ravioli on plate or a shallow bowl. Ladle crawfish and cream mixture over the pasta. Garnish with parmesan cheese and top with chopped green onion or fresh parsley, if desired, and serve. Yields 4 servings.

Cold Crawfish Salad

1 pound boiled, peeled crawfish tails
2 bunches of green onions, chopped
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons liquid crab boil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dill
Black pepper to taste

Place the crawfish in a large mixing bowl and season with black pepper. If the crawfish tails are large, coarsely chop them first. Stir in the onions, celery, crab boil (use one or two teaspoons depending on desired level of heat), and mayonnaise. Stir in dill. Serve with crackers or stuff in a hollowed-out tomato or puff pastry shell on top of a bed of greens.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Clambakes - Inland Style

Kitchen Clambake with Herbed Butter Sauce

Bouquet Garni for Seasoning: Place 12-inch square of cheesecloth on work surface. Place some fresh parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in center. Roll up and tie with string. Place bouquet garni in pot along with the other ingredients below.

1 1/2 pounds kielbasa sausage 2 large yellow onions, sliced in rings
5 or 6 stalks of fresh celery, cut into long segments 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 pounds very small red potatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded (optional)1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, in the shell (optional)2 cups dry white wine
1 cup butter, room temperature3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped1 teaspoon dried oregano1 teaspoon dried basil
Lemon wedges

Slice the kielbasa diagonally into about two-inch thick segments and set aside. Saute the onions and celery in the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat until the onions start to brown. Layer the ingredients on top of the onions in the stockpot in this order: first, the potatoes, salt, and pepper; then the kielbasa, little neck clams, mussels, and shrimp. Pour in the wine. Cover the pot tightly and cook over medium-high heat until steam just begins to escape from the lid, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook another 15 minutes. The clams and mussels should open when they are done. Place the seafood, potatoes, and sausages to a large bowl. Season the broth in the pot with salt and pepper. Ladle the broth over the seafood before serving or serve it on the side. Avoid any sand left in the bottom of the pot. Melt butter, garlic, oregano and basil in a small saucepan. Serve in ramekins alongside the clambake with fresh lemon wedges.

Sand Dollar Cookies

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
Slivered almonds and cinnamon-sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in almond extract. Combine the flour and salt; gradually stir into butter and sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes to one hour. Roll dough between waxed paper to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a round cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Lightly brush with egg. Place almond slices in a sand dollar pattern and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for two minutes in pan before moving to wire racks. Makes about one dozen.