Our chefs here at The Culinary Institute of America suggest you celebrate Mardi Gras Day Cajun-style by serving Crawfish Étouffée. According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America,
the humble crawfish (known more widely as crayfish) owes its stardom to
the Cajuns and is plentiful in the freshwaters of Louisiana's bayous
and lakes. Crawfish finds its way into many dishes, but the little
crustacean is mostly identified with étouffée, a Cajun translation of
"smothered," derived from the French étouffer.
"Étouffée is the name given to dishes like this one that are gently
cooked in a covered pot," explains CIA Chef Kathy Polenz. "Crawfish, or
crayfish, are sold live or as cooked meat. If you buy crawfish meat,
look for the words fat-on. Crawfish fat is an integral part of a good étouffée."
So, let the chefs of the CIA show you how to "laissez les bon temps rouler!" ("let the good times roll!"), by cooking up a pot of Crawfish Étouffée for Mardi Gras this year.
The following recipe can be found in The Culinary Institute of America's One Dish Meals (2006, Lebhar-Friedman) cookbook.