Backyard Crawfish Boil Soup

Chef Frank Brigtsen had just finished demonstrating how to cook his Pan-Fried Catfish with Jalapeño Cheese Grits, Black Bean Salsa and Avocado Cream, when he told us about two new dishes he'd added to the menu at his restaurant ... a dessert of Strawberry-Balsamic Ice Cream (still workin' on this one), and ... this amazing soup. My eyes widened and my hair stood on end with excitement. The idea seemed so obvious yet so incredibly inspired and creative. So obvious, in fact, that I smacked myself on the head and thought, "Why didn't you think of this??" 'Cause I'm just me, and Chef Brigtsen is a friggin' genius, that's why.

This soup is a great way to use up the leftover potatoes, corn and other vegetables from your own backyard crawfish boil, or otherwise try Chef Brigtsen's own method of boiling crawfish below, reserving enough peeled crawfish tails and vegetables for this wonderful soup.

The recommended brand of crawfish boil seasoning is Zatarain's in the boil-in bag; you may use your own favorite, or use this recipe to make one from scratch.

For the soup:

Place the cooked garlic, onions and celery into a food processor or blender and purée.

In a stockpot, add the vegetable purée and salt to the crawfish stock. Bring the stock to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the stock, pressing the solids to squeeze out all the liquid, discard the solids, and return the stock to the stockpot.

Add the corn and the sliced potatoes to the stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and keep the soup warm.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and parsley and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the crawfish tails and cook, stirring constantly, until the crawfish tails are just heated through, about 2 minutes. Remember that they're already cooked, and you don't want to overcook them.

Add the crawfish-onion-parsley mixture to the soup, stir thoroughly, and serve at once. Garnish each bowl with a small, whole crawfish, if you have any left.

Yield: 12 servings


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)