Louisiana seasons are not defined by the weather or whether leaves are on trees. They are rooted in our culture and the events that celebrate our joy of life. Football season takes the place of fall. Each new year begins with Carnival season. And of course, there’s crawfish season.
When the mudbugs start swimming around in Louisiana’s swamps and fields, people get a little excited in anticipation of the bounty their taste buds are about to receive. A new season means fresh crawfish bisques and étouffées. It means a return of crawfish dishes to a lot of local restaurants. And it means that the sound of a big burner igniting for a backyard boil will nearly bring a tear to my eye.
A good Louisiana crawfish boil will occasionally lead to leftover crawfish tails the next day. It isn’t rare for someone to buy an extra sack of the bright red crustaceans in an effort to make sure there are plenty for their guests. So when the frenzied feasters are done peeling for themselves, leftover tails often wind up in the fridge and saved for another day.
I love a good crawfish soup or a crawfish, corn, and potato omelet, but there’s also something about Cajun crawfish bread that really sings to me. A delicacy made famous by Panorama Foods at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, crawfish bread can be made by anyone and for any occasion. You really can’t go wrong in the kitchen when your ingredient list includes garlic, butter, bread, cheese, Cajun seasoning, and Louisiana crawfish tails. I could pretty much live on this stuff! —Jay D. Ducote
- 1 (12-ounce) loaf French bread, halved lengthwise
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound cooked crawfish tails
- ¾ cup chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning*
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- Garnish: parsley
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Place bread halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Divide mayonnaise between bread halves, spreading evenly. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add sweet onion, and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add crawfish, green onion, and parsley, stirring to combine. Cook until crawfish is heated through, about 5 minutes. Add Cajun seasoning and cream cheese. Remove from heat, and stir until cheese is incorporated.
- Divide mixture between bread halves, spreading evenly to cover. Top each half with cheeses and paprika. Bake until cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil. Broil 6 inches from heat until cheese has browned, about 2 minutes. Top with parsley, if desired. Serve warm.
- *We used Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning.