Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fresh (via Fedex) from the south: linguine with crawfish tails and andouille

My husband’s family is from the south, which means that occasionally I get requests for food I’m only barely familiar with. Creole/Cajun food is serious business. Take gumbo, for example. My husband, sister-in-law and in-laws will have long, important debates about which restaurant has the best gumbo, whether a blond or brown roux is best, which gumbo has properly de-slimed okra (or not), what the right thickness and seasoning of the soup is. I have taken a particular liking to crawfish, and whenever we go to Texas to visit we stop in for crawfish at the Rajun’ Cajun, a Louisiana chain. Everyone gets a bucketful of crawfish, red potatoes and corn on the cob, seasoned with an intense mix of spices (or washed off, if you prefer). It’s a lot of work to get through the tough shells to the tail meat, but it’s worth the effort.

You can’t get crawfish in New York. Believe me, I’ve tried. So I was very excited to discover a mail order resource for live crawfish (and all the accompaniments). With a minimum order of 15 pounds, Cajun grocer will overnight live crawfish in a Styrofoam cooler complete with a package of spices (which, of course, I supplemented). While slightly horrified when I lifted off the cover and confirmed the crawfish were in fact alive and well, I nevertheless managed to get them in a huge pot of boiling water seasoned with spices, lemon and onion, and boiled the along with the requisite potatoes and corn. We served them the traditional way, dumping them out on a table lined with newspapers and cracking them one by one. We had them with gumbo, chowder, andouille sausage and boudin (the first time I’ve had boudin). It was an enormous feast but there was surprisingly little left over. What was left, I made into a pasta the next day: whole wheat linguine with crawfish tails, andouille and peas in an olive oil and garlic sauce. The andouille lent an amazing spiciness to the dish, the peas a beautiful color, and the crawfish – well, a decadence that only lobster could beat!

You might not come by crawfish anytime soon, but swap in lobster meat or shrimp as you prefer.

On a completely different topic, I won the vote for the April, 2008 Inspiring Food Photography award run by Margot at Coffee and Vanilla. Thanks so much Margot (and voters) for nominating me and voting me in - I'm displaying my badge proudly and I'm thrilled for the honor! The May nominees are up so hop on over and have a look.

Spicy whole wheat linguine with andouille sausage and crawfish tails

1 pound whole wheat linguine
1 pound crawfish tails or shrimp, shelled and de-veined or lobster meat
½ pound andouille sausage, grilled, halved and cut into ½ inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup peas – steamed, room temperature
¼ cup white wine (approx)
Italian flat leaf parsley (3-4 Tbs, chopped roughly)
Salt and pepper

Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan, add garlic, and sauté for a couple minutes until golden (do not burn). Add crawfish tails, andouille, and white wine. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes longer. Add peas, sauté for a minute or just enough to warm. Remove from heat, stir in parsley.

Drain pasta and add to sauté pan. Toss to combine with the sauce. Pour into a large bowl. Adjust seasonings. Add additional olive oil if necessary, and serve.


Anonymous said...

Mmmm..this looks delicious! I had to laugh picturing you opening the box and finding something alive in it! On another note, I would love to see an authentic version of gumbo..what do you think?

Dolores said...

I wish I'd seen this post before John and I received our styrofoam container of crawfish... we clearly missed out on some key ingredients. Next time (and there *will* be a next time) we'll do it your way.

And Cajun Grocer's Boudin is definitely on my shopping list!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

I am not from the South but I share my love for gumbo with them. Just love it! Your photos are perfection so it doesn't surprise me you won the award. Mouthwatering photography, dreamy, bright, brilliant composition... what else can I say!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not from the South but crawfish has been a long time favorite of mine. Great recipe/photos!

Anonymous said...

looks wonderful. Great photography

Special K

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the well-deserved award!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Sabra this is making my mouth water. may i leave you my wish too - I wish you would give me a fork and a plate full of this LOL!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Beautiful, I love the idea of photographing them on newspaper!

Thank you for your comment, I replied here:

Have a nice day, Margot

Anonymous said...

For those of us who are living quiet little lives of take out containers, these photos are inspiring and gorgeous. They are like CPR! Bravo! auntie

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