|Crawfish and Grits|
Crawfishing is when you back-peddal your way out of something you don’t want to do. Usually, as you’re daintily trying to pick your way out of an obligation, someone will look you square in the eye and with the all the grace of a bull in a china shop, will say, “Quit your crawfishin’!”
This past weekend, we had a big crawfish boil over at a friend’s house, all in celebration of her birthday. To get crawfish where we live, means that someone has to call the crawfish shop, buy the crawfish an airline ticket and then send someone off on a 6 hour round trip drive to pick them up.
It might sound crazy, but once you’re eating hot boiled spicy crawfish and drinking a beer, it doesn’t seem so far out and it certainly seems to be all the work and the effort.
I told Mr. B that this year I was planning on making his grandmother’s recipe for crawfish bisque. And I was. But then, I reread the recipe and it was an awful lot of work. I would have had to make the crawfish stock, make the crawfish stuffing, stuff the crawfish heads and fry them, make a roux and make the bisque. It seemed like an awful big investment to be making mid-week, so I gracefully crawfished my way right on out of making bisque.
But that Mr. B, he’s smart man and he could see right through me, so he cornered me on one side of the kitchen and said, “Stop your crawfishin’, woman!” But, I was smart enough to turn the tables on him. You see, Mr. B loves crawfish so much that if he were going off to the electric chair, it would be his last and final meal. So, I distracted him and I said, “Crawfish!” really loud, and then, when he had that puzzled look on his face, I quickly said, “How about I make you some crawfish and grits for dinner.”
He was so happy, I don’t even think he’ll remember all that talk about crawfish bisque. If I’m lucky, that is.
Crawfish and Grits
1 pound peeled crawfish tails
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/4 green pepper, finely diced
2 toes of garlic, finely minced
2 whole tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup white vermouth
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups shrimp or crawfish stock
1-2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, to taste
1-2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 small squeeze of lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
Hot cooked grits
1. Put one stick of the butter into a cast iron skillet and melt.
2. Add the onion, celery, green pepper and garlic and cook until the vegetables are very soft.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes, about half the stock and the white vermouth; add the bay leaves.
4. Simmer until the liquid is significantly reduced; add the rest of the stock and the tomato paste and reduce again.
5. Stir in the black pepper, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce.
6. Whisk in the butter.
7. Add the crawfish tails and cook until they are warmed through and the sauce is hot and thick.
8. Add the squeeze of lemon and stir in the parsley.
9. Serve over hot grits.