The music at Jazz Fest is great and all, but for some, the food — specifically, the Crawfish Monica — is really where it’s at. Think eating hot, creamy, crawfish pasta in the sun is insane? Well, call us crazy, because in New Orleans, we live for the stuff under any condition.
During Jazz Fest, you can find this genius plate of pure pleasure at the Kajun Kettle Foods booth. Grab a fork, and find a spot to properly devour every comforting bite. Legend has it that the original recipe is guarded under lock and key (or fork and knife?), but locally developed recipes can really hit the spot — especially when they come from superstar chef Emeril Lagasse.
The original recipe is guarded under lock and key (or fork and knife?), but locally developed recipes — especially Emeril’s — can really hit the spot.
We headed to Emeril’s Homebase, a state-of-the-art test kitchen on St. Charles Avenue, to speak with chef Chris Wilson, the director of culinary operations. He walked us through the recipe step by step, and trust us, the results were delectable. Actually, don’t trust us — try it for yourself when you follow along with the video below, then keep scrolling for the recipe in full. And whatever you do, make plans to try the real deal at least once while you’re at Jazz Fest.
Crawfish Monica Recipe
1 pound linguine, fettucine, or rotini
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound crawfish tails*
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Return to the pot and toss with the olive oil and reserved cooking liquid. Cover to keep warm.
In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Essence, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the white wine and cook over high heat until nearly all evaporated. Add the cream lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced. Add the crawfish tails and cook, stirring, to warm through. Add the onions and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat with the sauce. Cook until the pasta is warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of the cheese.
Turn out into a serving bowl and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Serve.
*Crawfish tails can be purchased online and shipped through Cajun Grocer. Peeled medium shrimp can be substituted, but the cooking time must be increased to allow thorough cooking.
Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse