For Mardi Gras
It's not easy making Fridays in Lent fun without a fish fry or a long wait at the local seafood restaurant. But there are delightful possibilities for one's own kitchen these 40 days, thanks to recipes from expert chefs, such as LouAna Peanut Oil Chef Pat Mould from Lafayette, La. Chef Mould has plenty of tips for making Fridays fabulous while still being simple, thanks to his standout seafood dishes. All take just a few steps, like a surprisingly creamy crawfish pie or a crunchy, two-hands-needed shrimp po boy.
Mould owns Lafayette-based Louisiana Culinary Enterprises, a restaurant consulting firm, and is executive chef of the Louisiana School of Cooking. Chef Mould knows about taking chances at the stove, blending indigenous ingredients to the Cajun region like crawfish, oysters and shrimp with his own cooking techniques. Luckily, the fresh seafood and frozen food aisles at the grocery store can help do the same for the rest of us. It can make a soul glad it's a Friday in Lent.
- 2 1/2 gallons plus 2 tablespoons LouAna peanut oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1 (1-pound) package frozen crawfish tail meat, thawed
- 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated 9-inch pie crust
- Pour 2 1/2 gallons oil in a deep fryer; heat to 375 degrees.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, bell pepper and celery to pan; sauté 3 minutes.
- Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates.
- Combine vegetable mixture, cream cheese and next 4 ingredients, stirring well.
- Fold crawfish into cheese mixture; stirring to combine.
- Cut each (9-inch) pie crust in half to form 4 semicircles.
- Using a slotted spoon, place about 1 cup crawfish mixture in the center of each crust half; fold edges over, pressing to seal.
- Crimp edges with a fork.
- Fry pies at 375 degrees F. for 5 minutes or until golden, turning once. Serve immediately.
Each pie serves 2 people.
Shrimp Po Boys
- 2 gallons LouAna peanut oil
- 1/2 cup coarse-ground cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp. grainy mustard
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 (8-inch) pieces baguette
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 4 thin slices red onion
- 8 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices
- Pour oil into a large deep fryer; heat to 350 degrees F.
- Combine cornmeal, flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper in a shallow dish, stirring well.
- Dredge shrimp in cornmeal mixture.
- Fry shrimp at 350 degrees F. for 4 minutes or until done.
- Remove shrimp and drain well on paper towels.
- Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, mayonnaise, mustard and juice, stirring well.
- Spread about 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixture over cut sides of bread slices.
- Place 1 lettuce leaf on the bottom half of each bread slice; top with 1 red onion slice and 2 tomato slices.
- Season tomatoes with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Divide shrimp evenly among sandwiches; place top halves of bread slices on each.
- Cut sandwiches in half. Serve immediately.
Serves 8 people.