Saturday, March 30, 2013

Crawfish Bread

As soon as March arrives, I start to crave one thing: crawfish. Crawfish season is typically March to June. This is when they're cheap, big, and easily available, and so it's also when you get to have crawfish boils, an integral part of my childhood. There's nothing like running around in the spring sunshine while someone boils up a huge batch of crawfish, red potatoes, corn, and sausages/hot dogs. When it's time to eat, they just dump it all into a big pile on a newspaper-covered picnic table, and everyone digs in. It's messy. It's hot. It's a lot of work, but oh man is it delicious.

Living outside of southern Louisiana makes it difficult to experience anything even close to a crawfish boil. Thankfully, Norfolk, VA holds a Cajun festival every summer, and one of the things they offer there is fresh boiled crawfish. It's WAY more expensive than they would be in New Orleans (like $5-6/lb at the festival rather than $2-3/lb in New Orleans) and doesn't come with all the awesome extras, but it's the closest I've come to the real thing since moving away.

Most of the time, I have to make do with the frozen, precooked crawfish tail meat from the grocery store. These crawfish are inevitably Chinese, which means they do taste different than the ones back home do, but I find that if I'm mixing them into something, I don't notice it too much. Along with the taste being different, there's the price. A 12 ounce package of tail meat runs close to $10. For those two reasons, I hardly ever make anything that requires a lot of crawfish or highlights it too strongly. This recipe fits those two requirements perfectly. It gives me a hint of the crawfishiness I crave without breaking the bank or drawing attention to the slightly different flavor. that being said, if you have access to good Louisiana crawfish, by all means use it, and feel free to add extra crawfish tails, too.

If you haven't tried crawfish before and are unsure if you would like them, this might be a good way for you to try them out. The flavor is there but isn't overpowering. A dish like this also makes a great party appetizer. It's perfect because you can make the crawfish mixture ahead of time and then just finish the recipe at the start of the party. If you want to make it go further, you could use the same amount of crawfish mixture with an extra half or full loaf of bread--it's a pretty thick layer if you make it the way this recipe says, and it would be just as tasty if you spread it out more.


1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sliced green onion
1 cup diced mushrooms
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 ounces crawfish tails, roughly chopped
16 ounce loaf French bread


In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, garlic, Cajun seasoning, and pepper. Mix well. Add green onion, mushrooms, mozzarella, and crawfish tails. Stir until well-combined. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut loaf of bread in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet. Top each piece with half of the crawfish mixture, and spread it out to fully cover the bread. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bread is toasty and crawfish mixture is melty. Cut into 2 to 3-inch slices, and serve hot.

Servings: 12-16

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