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It's Crawfish Time!

For the last decade, chefs from throughout the Bayou State have competed against one anowother for the title of Seafood King or Queen of Louisiana at the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. Last year the cook-off—presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board—moved from New Orleans to Lafayette, the heart of Cajun Country, and Chef Bonnie Breaux made history by becoming the first Queen of Louisiana Seafood. The competition is open to any Louisiana chef who is a member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, and during their reign, the winner represents the state at events throughout the country.

Over 100 million pounds of Crawfish are harvested each year in Louisiana. 

Crawfish Time Is The Best Time

Starting as early as November, and typically lasting into June or early July, Louisiana’s crawfish season is one of the most eagerly anticipated times of the year. The little crustaceans are farmed and caught on rice fields in Acadiana and western Louisiana, and along the rivers and bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin. And whether they’re boiled, fried or smothered with a rich gravy and served over rice, there isn’t much that says “Louisiana” more than some hot, fresh crawfish.

Chef Chat

BONNIE BREAUX

Café Sydney Mae, Breaux Bridge| St. John Restaurant,St. Martinville

What makes Louisiana crawfish great?
Louisiana crawfish have such a great flavor—and so much fat. The fat is where the flavor is, and it helps make a great stew or gravy.

What’s your favorite crawfish dish?
Crawfish boils are my favorite because you can do so many fun things with them. A traditional Cajun boil has potatoes, garlic and corn thrown into the pot with the seasonings and crawfish. And I’ve gone places where they’ve put a whole pork roast in the pot, or hot dogs and sausage, and all kinds of things. It’s fun to see how creative people get with their crawfish boils.

What crawfish dishes do you like to cook?
I’m from the crawfish capital of the world, Breaux Bridge, and am getting ready to open a restaurant there (called Café Sydney Mae). I like to make crawfish fried wontons and crawfish fried rice with salmon. There are just so many things you can do with them

Why Buy Louisiana?

The next time you buy some crawfish tails, be sure to take a close look at the label. While the package may show Louisiana’s state shape or sport a Cajun-sounding name, those tender morsels could be from China. Louisiana crawfish offer superior flavor and texture, and they support local harvesters. But beyond that, imported crawfish can contain antibiotics that are banned for food products produced here.

CRAWFISH FESTIVALS

LOUISIANA CRAWFISH FESTIVAL
· CHALMETTE ·
MARCH 22–25

LAKE CHARLES CRAWFISH FESTIVAL
· LAKE CHARLES ·
APRIL 13–15

BREAUX BRIDGE CRAWFISH FESTIVAL
· BREAUX BRIDGE ·
MAY 4–6

MUDBUG MADNESS
· SHREVEPORT ·
MAY 24–27

FOR FESTIVAL DETAILS, VISIT LOUISIANATRAVEL.COM.

Louisiana Crawfish Bread

Louisiana Crawfish Bread

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) loaf French bread, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pound andouille, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced leeks
  • ½ cup thinly sliced celery
  • ¾ cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup finely diced bell pepper
  • 1 pound cooked Louisiana crawfish tails
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh, flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ancho chile pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack & Cheddar cheese, divided
  • ¾ cup shredded Italian cheese blend

Instructions

  •  Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  •  Remove soft centers of bread from both halves; reserve bread for another use. Place loaf halves scooped side down on prepared baking sheet and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add andouille, salt and pepper; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer into a medium heatproof bowl. Wipe out skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt over medium heat. Add leeks, celery and shallots, and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and peppers, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add Louisiana crawfish tails, parsley, chives, dry mustard and ancho chile pepper, stirring to combine. Cookuntil crawfish is heated through, about 5 minutes. Add cream cheese, ¾ cup Monterey Jack & Cheddar cheese, Italian cheese blend and andouille. Remove from heat, and stir until cheese is fully incorporated and melted.
  • Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush onto the top half of French bread. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Monterey Jack & Cheddar cheese. Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Spoon crawfish filling onto bottom half of bread and top with cheese bread. Serve immediately.

For other delicious Louisiana crawfish and seafood recipes, visit LouisianaSeafood.com.

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