HOW TO MAKE CRAWFISH STRUDEL
New Orleans’ world-famed Jazz Fest inspires from many angles, but music and food are the most obvious.
That’s where my daughter, Margaret, introduced me to Crawfish Strudel. For those of us expecting something sweet and fruity, get over it! This dish is savory and spicy – delicious.
Its consumption inspired me to create my own knock-off, which I decided should taste like a crawfish boil in a light crust. It worked.
Give it a try, it’s not difficult. Just takes a couple of steps. I also think this would work with shrimp cut into half-inch pieces.
CRAWFISH STRUDEL A LA PATSY
EQUIPMENT- Chopping board, chef’s knife, cereal bowls for veggie prep, medium sauce pan, medium dutch oven, rubber spatula, wooden cooking spoon, microplane, paring knife, tasting spoon, 1 baking sheet per 6 strudels, parchment paper, flour for working with dough, measuring equipment, small baking brush (I use a small paint brush), ramekin with lid, pizza cutter.
1 pkg frozen crawfish tails (sorry, I refuse to peel fresh ones)
3 small-medium red potatoes (do not peel)
bunch green onions
½ cup fresh parsley
½ red bell pepper
3 celery stalks
4 sheets philo dough (2 packages from freezer section)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground thyme
4-5 Tablespoons flour
¾ cup sour cream
1 lemon, zested / juice of half
½ stick butter, melted in ramekin
1 tablespoon Zatarain’s crab boil (granulated)
LET’S GET STARTED
STEP ONE: Wash all our fresh veggies, chop into similar sized pieces (about the size of a dime). In sauce pan, put your potato bits, cover with water and add crab boil. Cook about 10 minutes until just tender. Remove from heat and let stand while you get other things done. (I want potatoes tasting like they were in your crawfish pot!)
STEP TWO: Heat dutch oven on medium high, add olive oil, celery and bell peppers. Add salt, pepper, thyme, wine. Sweat 3-5 minutes. Add corn, green onions, parsley. Cook another 3 minutes. Add flour to thicken and cook another 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Fold in sour cream, lemon zest and juice. Drain potatoes and fold in 1 ½ cups of them. Taste to make sure you’ve got enough salt. Place your butter into the ramekin and microwave 1 minute to melt. Turn your stove oven to 400 degrees.
STEP THREE: On your kitchen counter, place a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than one sheet of philo dough. Sprinkle flour on it, spread the flour around and unfold your dough. Place it on the flour. Sprinkle flour on the side toward you. Flip the dough and repeat. Transfer your floured dough to another sheet of parchment paper. (I can’t find my rolling pin, so I used a drinking glass to roll out the dough to a somewhat larger, thinner piece, although it’s not greatly larger than the original – maybe a couple of inches width and depth.) Using your pizza cutter or a paring knife, gently cut the dough up the fold seams and across in the middle – you will have 6 pieces, longer than they are wide.
Brush the dough with butter, then add 1-2 tablespoons of filling down the center of each dough rectangle. Grasp your first filled dough, turn it sideways, gently pull the front side of the dough over the filling and roll it to meet the other side like you’d roll a cigar. Fold the ends toward the back seam and place the filled dough “cigar” on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat rolling the others. With your paring knife, slice gently across the top of each about 3 times for dough vents. Then, brush butter across the outside of each.
Repeat with each sheet of philo. The filling recipe is enough for 24 “cigars.”
Cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before you bite into this deliciousness!
SERVES 12. I recommend serving it alongside a hearty salad or with jambalaya or gumbo. An all-around crawfish delight. (BTW, if you’re allergic to bell peppers, just skip them.)
For another taste of New Orleans Jazz Festival, see our August 2013 article, “A Big Bang for the Buck”