• Tommy Centola

The heart of crawfish season

Spring is a favorite food time of the year for me. It is the heart of crawfish season. I love to break out my boiling pot on a beautiful spring day. I think there is no better way to enjoy crawfish.

But what do you do with the leftover tails, if there are any? There are many classic Cajun and Creole dishes featuring the crustacean. Sometimes, I like to play with different flavors. My VooDoo Rolls are always a hit. I wanted to branch out to other nationalities. Today, I am sharing with you two different flavor profiles, Italian with a Crawfish Pizza and Tex-Mex with Crawfish Enchiladas.

I have only eaten seafood on a pizza a handful of times. Mostly made with shrimp and crabmeat, I find that they lack flavor. The shrimp taste as if they were boiled in unseasoned water. Playing around one year, the idea popped into my head to try a crawfish pizza. I’ll let you be the judge, but I thought it was a winner. For a little extra flavor, add chopped garlic to the pizza sauce before cooking the pizza.

Crawfish Pizza

1 large Pizza Crust

2 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided

1 1/2 cups Pizza Sauce

1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped, green part only

1 pound Crawfish Tails

Creole Seasoning

1/2 pound shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place the crust on the prepared pan and spread evenly with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the oil and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the green onions and the crawfish tails and season to taste with Creole seasoning. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Spread the crawfish mixture over the pizza sauce, then top with the cheeses. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake until the cheeses melt and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

I am not a fan of Tex-Mex restaurants. I just can’t seem to find a dish that I really like. My wife, however, loves Tex-Mex. She could probably eat at these restaurants 7 days a week. I do occasionally like to use the Tex-Mex flavors in my cooking. My favorite dish to make are enchiladas. They are one of the easiest Tex-Mex dishes to make. There are numerous ingredients you can use to fill them. This season, I tried some leftover crawfish tails. They were a hit. If a local restaurant would have these on their menu, I might change my mind about Tex-Mex.

Crawfish Enchiladas

1 tablespoon Butter

1 medium Onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Garlic, minced

1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped

1 (14oz can) Rotel tomatoes, drained

1 cup Tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

1 cup Half and Half

1 pound Crawfish Tails

1 teaspoon Chili Powder

4 ounces Cheese Spread

Creole Seasoning to taste

16 (6-inch) Flour Tortillas

4 ounces shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350℉.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Sauté onions, garlic and bell pepper in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Add both tomatoes. Stir in the flour and gradually add the half and half. Add the crawfish tails and chili powder. Cook until it boils and thickens. Reduce heat and stir int he cheese spread until melted. Season to taste. Divide the mixture (about 1/4 cup each) among the tortillas, roll and lay in a baking dish coated with non-stick spray. Pour any extra sauce on top of enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until heated and cheese is melted.

You don’t have to have a crawfish boil to enjoy these dishes. You can buy frozen crawfish tails locally. Just remember, always use Louisiana crawfish tails. The imported tails lack the flavor of the Louisiana crawfish. Make sure you read the package good. The importers try to make you think you are buying domestic crawfish.

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