Monday came around with me hardly able to climb out of bed. The day after day heavy lifting hit all at once and I came awake with the awareness that a rest from the packing and moving was necessary or I would need a month of physical rehab. That fact clear in mind, lying in bed my thoughts roamed until I recalled Sunday night’s dinner, a delicious treat eaten after crawling in the door too tired for cooking and grateful for the foil wrapped pie waiting in the refrigerator—another five-star wonder from sister Beverly’s kitchen.
Most Louisiana natives will walk through fire to get at a table of boiled crawfish, and I’m no exception. I have long had the impression that crawfish is a misunderstood delicacy among too many outside of the state, all too often the very mention of eating crawfish rousing a nasty “Ugh!” and a disgusted look. Well, they just don’t know what they’re missing. Yesterday my sister brought a crawfish pie with the suggestion that I might not be up to cooking later.
The recipe originated with one of our Louisiana aunts and at sometime in the murky past was passed on to our mother. Beverly stood at Mamma’s side by the stove every night from the age of twelve learning the basics of Louisiana cookery. And well she learned. I have on many occasions thought that my sister should apply for a private Michelin star, so skillful and tasty is her cooking. From Aunt Flossie to Mamma to Beverly, here is a recipe for crawfish pie that would delight Gordon Ramsey and John Folse.
LOUISIANA CRAWFISH PIE
1 pound peeled crawfish tails (Chinese crawfish do not have the flavor of Louisiana crawfish)
4 oz (1 stick) butter
½ can cream of mushroom soup
1 10 oz can of diced tomatoes, no juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cloves minced or crushed garlic
1 small bell pepper chopped
2 medium onions chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
Handful of chopped mushrooms, but not too fine
Handful of chopped parsley & scallions, tops included
Zatarain’s Louisiana seasoning to taste
No salt needed.
Sauté onions, celery & bell pepper in butter until tender. Add mushroom soup & tomatoes, then garlic and cook 10 minutes. Add crawfish and cook a little longer. Add mushrooms & cornstarch diluted in water, then add parsley & scallions. Pour the mixture into a cornmeal pie crust (recipe below).
Cornmeal Pie Crust:
1 cup flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
Combine flour, corn meal and salt in a bowl. Cut in 1 stick of butter until mixture has the look of coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of ice water and stir until it forms a ball. Roll the ball out as with any pie crust, put it in a pie dish and bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove crust from oven and fill with crawfish mixture. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then another 30 minutes at 350. Cut and serve as you would any pie.
Serve the crawfish pie with a green salad followed by a light dessert, maybe sherbet or a sorbet. Sure thing you will never again turn away from a dinner of Louisiana crawfish.