inspired by the Jazzfest
favorite, "Crawfish Monica"®

Kajun Kettle is a food company based in New Orleans who make a wide variety of products, from seafood gumbo to crawfish bisque, to sauces and more, but they're most famous (and justifiably so) for their marvelous dish, "Crawfish Monica"®.

It's one of the most popular dishes served at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; the line at the Crawfish Monica® booth is always one of longest on the Fairgrounds. You'll see why if you stand in it and buy some when you go to Jazzfest, or if you order some from Kajun Kettle to have at home.

Joe Cahn, formerly of the New Orleans School of Cooking, came up with his take on this delectable dish and taught it to his students at the school; I offer you his version below. If you can't get the real thing (and you really should sometime, either in person at Jazzfest or through mail-order), this version might be worth a try.

This is a very simple and elegant dish, and will impress your guests in a big way. If you don't have crawfish available in your area, it works well with shrimp, oysters or crabmeat.

Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, then rinse under cool water. Drain again, thoroughly.

Melt the butter in a large pot and saute onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the seafood and saute for 2 minutes. Add the half-and-half, then add several big pinches of Creole seasoning, tasting before the next pinch until you think it's right. If you've boiled your own crawfish, save the fat and add it in as well.

Cook for 5 - 10 minutes over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Add the pasta and toss well. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so over very low heat, stirring often. Serve immediately, with lots of French bread and a nice dry white wine.

Special thanks to Monica Davidson (the namesake of Crawfish Monica®) of Kajun Kettle for her kind permission to use the trademark "Crawfish Monica"® in the description of this dish.
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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)