5.25.2009

Crawfish Monica

A friend of ours posted a Crawfish Monica recipe a few days ago on our town's Forum. Since Peggy is a Celiac (allergic to stuff made from wheat flour) and this is a pasta dish, I haven't thought of it in years. Crawfish Monica first appeared at New Orleans Jazz Festival back in the very early 80's and it is now so popular that the line at the Kajun Kettle booth where it is served at the yearly festival is always the longest. This dish is responsible for the seafood pasta dishes found in many restaurants today. Although it is a "secret" recipe dish, most every one agrees that this is the basic recipe:

Crawfish Monica

1 lb of pasta cooked, rinsed, and drained

1/2 cup butter

1 medium onion chopped fine

3-6 garlic toes minced

1lb of crawfish tails with fat

Cajun seasoning to taste (try a Tablespoon of Tony Chachere's)

1 pint of half and half

Cook, drain and rinse the pasta. ( Most any noodle will do...I often use shells 'cause its seafoody cute, but anything works. Restaurants use fettucini so often that the dish is known widely as crawfish fettucini. While the pasta drains, melt the butter in a sauce pan and saute` the onion and garlic for a few minutes 'til they begin to soften. Add the crawfish and Cajun seasoning and saute` a few more minutes. Add the half and half, bring to a simmer, and simmer a few minnutes 'til it thickens slightly. Add the cooked pasta, stir and let rest on "low" for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to evenly coat pasta, serve immediately makes 4 good servings.

This simple elegant dish is endlessy adaptable. I always add dried parsley when I add the pasta. Shrimp, or crab meat or oysters or any combination works. Lots of folks add mushrooms, green onions and a number of other ingredients. Try this wonderful dish for your family and give them a little taste of Jazz Fest. Let us know what version you made and what adaptations you used, and feel free to ask for suggestions or questions.
A historical note: created in 1982 by Chef Pierie Hilzin and named after his wife, you guessed it...Monica
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