As a child growing up in Louisiana, I was immersed in food flavors of the region. My parents had their fair share of entertaining. It was composed of southern traditional meals. Our location on the Gulf supplied easy access to great seafood. My Dad mastered the seafood boil whether it was shrimp, crawfish or crab. My sister GA Peach and I learned early to peel shrimp and pick out crab meat.
The crawfish “sucking heads” trick came later. Occasionally, my Dad and his friends would sit around the garage and shuck oysters. As a child or even teenager, this seemed about as disgusting as it could ever get. They would usually have a cold one near by. As a teenager even the lure of a beer did not entice me to try raw oysters.
Now that I am grownup, fresh raw oysters are a special treat. If you have access to a sack of oysters, it’s even better. This assumes that you have a “shucker”. Of course, there is a perfect oyster, cracker and cocktail sauce ratio that must be adhered to. An icy cold beer is a given.
My favorite was always crawfish. As an adult, I have learned to savor spicy crawfish. Sucking heads and all. If your lucky enough to have a pound of crawfish left, make crawfish pies. Utilize any onions and mushrooms from boil in lieu of fresh for crawfish pies. I have served this recipe many times and it always disappears.
Serves 16 tarts
1 stick butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic toes, chopped
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 crème of mushroom soup
1 crème of celery soup
1 pound crawfish tails, thawed
3 Tbsp cooking sherry
2 boxes tart shells
cayenne and cracked pepper sprinkled to taste
In a large colander, wash green onions, celery and garlic. On a large cutting board, start chopping green onions, celery, mushrooms and garlic. Preheat saucepan on medium low heat. Add butter, onions, celery and mushrooms for five minutes. Saute and stir as needed.
Sprinkle flour into mixture and stir well for two minutes. Combine soups into mixture and increase heat to medium and stir well. Grind in fresh cracker pepper Add a healthy a dose of cayenne pepper, as much as you and yours will enjoy. Cook for about 20 minutes and stir as needed.
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, open tart shells and place on a baking tray and set aside.
Add in crawfish tails to saucepan and cook for five minutes. Turn off heat and add in cooking sherry and stir well. Begin adding crawfish mixture to tart shells. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve