HomeArts & LitSpotlight on the Cajun Crustacean

Spotlight on the Cajun Crustacean

A new book detailing the succulent history of crawfish is available from The History Press just in time for Good Friday boils. 

crawfishAs Queen of Cajun Cooking Marcelle Bienvenu imparts in the foreward to new book Louisiana Crawfish, “After all, life in south Louisiana just wouldn’t be worth living without a weekly crawfish boil during crawfish season. Heck, on Good Friday, one would be hard-pressed to find someone not enjoying mounds of crawfish—pinching, peeling and sucking!”

Bienvenu, who remembers laying eyes on a crawfish for the first time during an outing with her father in St. Martin Parish, is absolutely right. Crawfish season in Acadiana is officially open, and families across the region are preparing for their annual Easter weekend boil. This tradition is just a small part of the crawfish story, though. A freelance journalist and writer living in Baton Rouge, Sam Irwin takes on the task of delving into the $210 million dollar crawfish industry, which includes whole families at work, annual crawfish festivals and of course the boils. Irwin tells the story, complete with recipes and tall tales, in his new book from The History Press, Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean.

Through chapters on etouffee, the Crawfish Capital of the World, King Crawfish, ranching and supply and demand, Irwin takes what may be the most extensive look yet at Louisiana’s favorite crustacean. We wanted to honor the crawfish as well this week with links to some delicious recipes (old and new) and encouragement to pick up Irwin’s book. As you’re peeling and eating a pound — or two or three or four — this weekend, think about where the juicy crawfish in your hand comes from, where it’s going and how lucky you are to be putting it in your mouth. The book also has the recipe for Don’s famous Crawfish Bisque with stuffed crawfish heads, reason alone to purchase a copy.

Crawfish Enchiladas – An adapted recipe from the Junior League of Lafayette

Crawfish Etouffee – Direct from Prejean’s Cajun Restaurant

Mini Crawfish & Shrimp Cakes Over Creole Succotash – A farmers market recipe from Birmingham’s Pepper Place and Chef Jason Mezrano

Bisque of Curried Pumpkin, Crawfish and Corn – A recipe from South Louisiana’s Houmas House Plantation

… And to make a crawfish stock, the perfect base for gumbo, etouffee, bisque, macque choux and more, just save the aftermath of bodies and heads after a boil, rinse them and boil in a large pot with water, onion, carrots and any other veggies for a few hours to let the flavors blend. Strain the stock and freeze for up to a year.

Prejean's Crawf
Tom's Town