My Crawfish Bread Journey
I have been working on a crawfish bread recipe for so long, I forgot what my end result was to be and ventured out into crawfish pie territory for a while until I read my original notes! How does that happen? Anyway, needless to say, I have been on a crawfish journey because I like to teach crawfish recipes in my cooking classes.
A little goes a long way and some folks up north are sort of flummoxed about how to prepare them. I have officially become a crawfish evangelist. Because of my extensive testing along with cooking the traditional dishes for let's say 40 years, I am finally on top of my crawfish cooking game. Yep, I could be the Bubba Gump of crawfish.
These days crawfish tail meat is available at seafood markets, some grocery stores and Walmart in the frozen seafood section. Not all crawfish are created equal and the packages can be deceiving. You will want to stick to wild caught Louisiana crawfish if you can find them. If you can't get those, buy the others, rinse them very well and they will be a suitable substitute.
All Crawfish bread in my world starts with Crawfish Etouffee.
I made a awesome Crawfish pie with the filling. It reminded me of my mama's chicken pot pie which I still remember as one of the best.
But back to the bread- See how I get sidetracked?
There a lot of Crawfish Bread recipes out there. Copelands Restaurant in New Orleans served a version of French bread topped with Etouffee and cheese and broiled in the oven.There is also a version that is made in a ring with crescent dough, sorta like a king cake. And there is the version of them being stuffed in a small French roll called a Pistolette and fried. All good variations of the theme.
Some recipes are not Etouffee based, they are made with tailmeat made into a crawfish salad with mayonnaise and cream cheese and stuffed in French bread like a salad then covered with cheese and broiled. After tireless attempts in multiple states, I came up with this one which works nicely with store bought dough. Don't judge, I make home made dough all the time for different dishes, using store bought makes the process faster, which my students like. Sorry I did not get a picture of the bread, I made it a few cooking classes and the students ate it before I got a shot!
Makes 12 Servings for an appetizer
Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped green onion (tops and bottoms)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 pound peeled Louisiana crawfish tails, with fat
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small squares
Cajun seasoning, to taste
2 -11 ounce French bread dough refrigerated
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté chopped vegetables in olive oil and butter until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add crawfish tails and wine; stir ingredients well and add cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is melted. Add Cajun seasoning and cook until all is thickened, just a few minutes. Remove from heat, cool and let flavors blend. Carefully roll out French bread dough on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with a fourth of the shredded cheese. Spoon half of the crawfish mixture onto center of dough. Sprinkle on remaining shredded cheese, reserving 2 tablespoons. Fold dough over mixture and tuck ends under to make a loaf. Use the remaining tablespoons of cheese to sprinkle on top. Cut five to six small slits in dough across the top of the loaf. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until loaf is golden brown. Remove from the oven. Allow bread to set for a few minutes.