Monday, August 18, 2008

2 Sawhorses and a Plywood Board

In an attempt to use the leftover crawfish I defrosted for yesterday's mirlitons I found a quick crawfish pasta recipe that looked delicious. It wasn't the healthiest of recipes but every now and then I figure that is ok as long as we practice portion control.

As I prepared tonight's meal I couldn't help but think about the first time Forrest met my entire family. It was a Friday during Lent and as tradition has it we were going to feast on boiled crawfish for dinner. Most New Orleanians are Catholic and during Lent you are supposed to abstain from eating meat on Fridays which gives us the perfect excuse to indulge in this local favorite. It was after Hurricane Katrina and my parents were in the process of rebuilding their home. They were at the stage of construction where all that existed was the structure and the freshly drywalled interior. Otherwise the house was completely empty. Despite its premature state, they were further along than any of my other family member's rebuilding efforts so therefore they were set to host the meal. My parent's home is located on Lake Pontchartrain providing for beautiful scenery. I can remember the night like it was yesterday. My Daddy opened all of the windows to let the cool breeze flow through the un-air conditioned house. He set up two saw horses with plywood placed on top for a makeshift table. We all stood around the table and talked and ate and drank and laughed - it was great fun. As people finished eating they retired to upside down paint buckets for seating. It was all very rustic and not at all how you imagine your first introduction of your family to your future husband. No tables, no chairs and no electricity is not exactly your ideal set up for a dinner gathering. Although it was very primitive I could not have asked for a better scenario. We were together as a family to eat and enjoy each other in spite of everything going on in our lives at the time. I think Forrest learned a lot about my family that night. We made do with what we had and we had a blast! He recalls it fondly from time to time so I am certain it left a lasting impression on his mind.

Crawfish and Cream over Pasta
Recipe Courtesy Emeril Lagasse

1 pound linguine or fettucine
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Essence, (recipe in link)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound crawfish tails*
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Return to the pot and toss with the olive oil and reserved cooking liquid. Cover to keep warm.

In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Essence, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the white wine and cook over high heat until nearly all evaporated. Add the cream lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally,

until slightly reduced. Add the crawfish tails and cook, stirring, to warm through.

Add the onions and parsley and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat with the sauce. Cook until the pasta is warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Turn out into a serving bowl and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Serve.

This pasta dish was super fast and super delicious. I think it would be great with shrimp as well. It had just enough spice to tickle your taste buds without being overpowering.


Gabriela said...

I still can't get over how you and your family survived the wrath of Katrina. It's always amazing to me how some families are brought closer together in the midst or as a result of a disaster. TFS those special memories. Your dinner tonight looks so yummy.

Mollie said...

Great dish and a great story. It sometimes takes a lot to remind us of the simple things that really are the best part of life. Such a great memory and thing to hold onto.

Cheryl said...

That looks delicious! I dont believe I have ever eaten crawfish

Woody said...

best story yet.

Dolores said...

Wow, what a neat story!

I made this same dish last winter and absolutely loved it. Your pictures are better though. :)

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

This looks so rich and decadent! Great story. It's always the simplest things that are the best.

Jaime said...

wow! this looks delicious!

flutterbyblue said...

Oh. YUM. This looks seriously amazing. My boyfriend is currently interviewing for a job in New Orleans and I wish I could be there! He's vegetarian and couldn't possibly take advantage of the fabulous food. Crawfish...delish! If only I could convince him to bring back some frozen mudbugs for me!