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From: The Ethical Gourmet by Jay Weinstein

This is one of the classic dishes of old New Orleans, served in the grand dining palaces like Commander's, Antoine's, Arnaud's, and Brennan's. Originally, it was made with wild crawfish, which were abundant in the bayou. But Louisiana rice farmers hit on an ingenious idea when they introduced crawfish to their rice paddies in the off season. The crawfish eat pests and residue from the previous year's crop and provide an additional source of income for the farm. Added benefit: Farm-raised crawfish are sweeter and less muddy than wild ones. This dish is best served over steaming plates of rice.
Serves 6 As A Main Course

• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
• 2 medium onions, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
• 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons crawfish fat (the yellow fat found in the crawfish heads) or margarine
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 pound cleaned crawfish tails
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 scallion, chopped

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions, pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and juicy, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle in the flour; cook undisturbed 30 seconds. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and cook 30 seconds more. Repeat for 3 minutes, until the roux is medium-brown. Add the crawfish fat, salt, cayenne, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 5 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup water. The mixture should be thick and saucy. Cover; simmer gently 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the crawfish tails. Cook just until the crawfish tails are warmed through, a minute or two. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust the consistency with water—it should be thick and stewlike. Stir in the scallion and serve over rice.


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