I don't really like crawfish pie the way it's usually made--as a thickened crawfish etouffee baked in a little pie shell. This version is a bit richer, more herbal (with an up-front garlic tinge), and less red-peppery. It's also folded into a triangle of phyllo pastry, and comes out looking like a Middle Eastern spinach pie. That eliminates the worst part of the standard crawfish pie--that fat-logged crust. You can also make these using small vol-au-vents ("patty shells").
- 2 cups Louisiana crawfish tails
- 1/2 stick butter
- 4 Tbs. flour
- 2 tsp. fresh, finely chopped garlic
- 3/4 cup half-and-half, warmed
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. dill
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. paprika
- Phyllo pastry sheets
1. If the crawfish tails are very large, cut them into two or three pieces.
2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a saucepan until it bubbles, then stir in the flour and make a blond roux. Don't allow the roux to brown.
3. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and add the warmed half-and-half. Whisk until the sauce thickens to the texture of light mashed potatoes. Add half of the beaten egg and whisk until blended in.
4. Add add the crawfish and all the other ingredients except the phyllo and the remaining beaten egg. Simmer, stirring once or twice, for about two minutes. Remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. Unfold the phyllo pastry and separate ten sheets. Wrap the remainder and return to the box and the refrigerator. Cut the phyllo sheets into three strips, four to five inches wide and twelve to fourteen inches long. Dampen a clean towel and keep it on top of the phyllo you're not yet using to prevent its drying out.
6. Spoon about two tablespoons of the crawfish mixture onto one end of two thicknesses of phyllo strips. Brush lightly with egg at the other end. Fold the phyllo over the filling at a 45-degree angle, and keep folding over till the end. Seal the edges with your fingers. Set the finished triangles on a greased baking sheet and continue making more until all the filling is gone.
7. Bake the triangles in a 400-degree oven until browned and crisp. Serve immediately, or keep warm.
Serves eight to twelve.
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