Mardi Gras has been recognized in this country since 1699 when a French nobleman and his crew of explorers celebrated on a small island in the Mississippi River on their way to found the city of New Orleans. The tradition has since evolved to this countrys biggest and craziest party!The Creole and Cajun peoples possess a powerful joie de vivre a zestful attitude thats clearly evident in their foods. One of the few truly American cuisines, Creole/Cajun foods are alive with a piquant gusto that feeds both the body and soul. Here, mealtime is an expression of the cooks passion and love warming all that surround the family table.Fishing and wild game are abundant in Louisiana, and anything that crawls, runs, flies or swims could end up in the pot. Two tasty favorites are Gulf shrimp and crawfish both of which are readily available here in Colorado. This weeks recipes focus on these two tasty critters in easy classics from Louisianas most celebrated chef, Emeril Lagasse.Bring the Acadian joie de vivre into your kitchen this week and laisez les bon temps rouler! Chef Michael Angelo (Mick) Rosacci and family own and operate Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods and Tony Rosaccis Fine Catering of Littleton. More recipes available at http://www.TonysMarket.com.Creole SeasoningEvery Louisiana kitchen has its own seasoning blend. Here is an easy one from Emeril that he calls essence. Pre-made blends such as Tony Chacheres and Paul Prudhomes are also recommended.21⁄2 TBS paprika 2 TBS salt 2 TBS garlic powder 1 TBS black pepper 1 TBS onion powder 1 TBS cayenne pepper 1 TBS dried oregano 1 TBS dried thymeCombine all ingredients thoroughly.Crawfish Cakeswith ChipotleTartar Sauce Tartar sauce: 2 dried chipotle peppers 1⁄2 cup prepared mayonnaise 1 TBS chopped green onions Juice of 1 lemon Salt and pepper Crawfish Cakes: 2 TBS plus 1 tsp oil 1 cup shelled crawfish tails 2 TBS each chopped onion, red pepper and celery 1⁄2 tsp. chopped garlic Creole seasoning1 egg 1⁄2 cup bread crumbs Chopped parsley, for garnish Make tartar sauce: In a cast-iron skillet over high heat pan roast peppers, toasting them on all sides, until smoky and slightly charred. Chop finely. In a small bowl combine with remaining sauce ingredients. Adjust seasonings, to taste, with salt and pepper. (Chipotles in Adobo may also be used to taste.)In a saut pan heat 1 tsp. oil, add chopped onion, red pepper and celery, and toss and cook 2 minutes until tender. Remove pan from heat and add garlic, crawfish meat, and 1 tsp. Creole spice or to taste. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside to cool. Mix in egg and enough breadcrumbs for mixture to bind; adjust seasonings to taste with salt, pepper and Creole spice. Form into 4 equal patties and flatten to 3⁄4-inch thick. Heat remaining oil in a saut pan and cook cakes on both sides until brown and crispy. Serve garnished with parsley and a dollop of tartar sauce. Serves 2 Emeril LagasseShrimp or Crawfish Rmoulade1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice3⁄4 cup vegetable oil1⁄2 cup chopped onions1⁄2 cup chopped green onions1⁄4 cup celery2 TBS chopped garlic2 TBS prepared horseradish3 TBS Creole or Whole grain mustard3 TBS yellow mustard3 TBS ketchup3 TBS chopped parsley1 tsp. salt1⁄4 tsp. cayenne1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepperCooked Gulf White Shrimp or CrawfishShredded lettuceTomatoes, cucumberPut all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and process for 30-45 seconds, chill. Toss cooked shrimp or crawfish in sauce and serve over lettuce decorated with tomatoes and cucumber. Extra sauce can be stored in refrigerator for several days. Adapted from Emeril LagasseSpicy Boiled ShrimpPrepare this dish with #1 quality Gulf White Shrimp and take care not to overcook for the finest shrimp experience of your life!1 tsp. whole black peppercorns 1 tsp. coriander seeds 1 rib celery, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 sprig fresh tarragon 2 sprigs fresh thyme 3 sprigs fresh parsley 1 TBS Creole seasoning2 TBS sea salt 1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper 1⁄2 lemon, squeezed (juice reserved) and the shell, plus 4 wedges for garnish 1⁄4 cup white wine 4 cups water 2 bay leaves 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail segment left intact Cocktail sauce, recipe followsIn a large saucepan, combine the peppercorns, coriander seeds, celery, tarragon, thyme, parsley, Creole seasoning, salt, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, white wine, water and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp to the boiling water, stir, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand until shrimp are just cooked through (about 3-4 minutes). Strain in a colander and transfer the shrimp to a large bowl (do not rinse). Discard the cooking liquid and seasonings. Refrigerate the shrimp until well chilled, about 1 hour. While the shrimp are chilling, make the Cocktail Sauce. Serves 3-5 as an appetizer. Emeril LagasseCocktail Sauce1 cup ketchup 1 TBS fresh lemon juice 1 TBS prepared horseradish 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce1⁄2 tsp. salt1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper 3 drops hot pepper sauce, optional Combine all ingredients in a small nonreactive bowl and stir until thoroughly combined, taste and adjust. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Emeril LagasseCrawfish and Andouille Jambalaya2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 cups chopped onions 1 cup chopped bell pepper 1⁄2 cup chopped celery Salt and cayenne 1 pound Andouille, sliced into 1⁄4-inch slices 4 bay leaves 2 cups chopped tomatoes, peeled and seeded 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 2 cups white rice 6 cups chicken stock 2 pounds crawfish tails 1 cup chopped green onionsIn a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, peppers, and celery. Season with salt and cayenne. Saut the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are wilted. Add the sausage and saut for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, and garlic. Saut for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and saut for 2 minutes. Add the stock. Season with salt and cayenne. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the jambalaya for 25 to 30 minutes, covered, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the crawfish tails and green onions and re-season if necessary. Serves 6. Adapted from Emeril LagasseShrimp or Crawfishtouffe1 stick (1/4 pound) butter2 cups chopped onion1 cup chopped celery1⁄2 cup chopped bell pepper1 pound peeled crawfish tails or shrimp1 tsp chopped garlic (optional)2 bay leaves1 TBS flour1 cup water1 tsp salt1⁄4 tsp cayenne2 TBS chopped parsley3 TBS chopped green onionMelt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saut until soft and golden, 10-12 minutes. Add the crawfish and bay leaves. Reduce to medium, add garlic if using and cook for two minutes. Add the shrimp, salt and cayenne and cook just until the shrimp or crawfish are done (3-4 minutes for shrimp, 8 minutes for crawfish).Dissolve the flour in water and whisk into the seafood mixture, stirring and cooking until the mixture thickens, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in the green onions and cook for about two minutes longer. Remove bay leaf and serve immediately over steamed rice. Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
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