With Super Bowl Sunday, Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day, and the Oscars, February happens to be one of my very favorite food months. It's just a shame it comes right after a month of many folks' diet and exercise resolutions. If I could give you only one festive (and Super Bowl-appropriate) recipe this month that is absolutely, positively worth a few extra hours in the gym, this crazy-good, decadent crawfish dip would be it.
Crawfish and cream sauce have always gone hand-in-hand, and this particular pairing is at the very tip top of my list. If it wasn't so dang sinful, I would offer this appetizer at every single gathering I ever hosted. Oh well. Enjoyed once a year, it makes watching the Super Bowl just a tiny bit more bearable. (Because we all know it's really just about the food.)
Creamy Crawfish DipMakes 2 cups
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 bunch green onions (white parts only), chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened and cubed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere's
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 (12-ounce) package crawfish crawfish tail meat, thawed and drained
Kosher salt, to taste
Crusty bread and Louisiana-style hot sauce, for serving
In a medium skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
Stir in the cream cheese, mayonnaise, creole seasoning, and cayenne; whisk until smooth. Reduce heat to low. Add the crawfish tail meat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately with toasted bread slices and hot sauce. Garnish with the green tops of the onions, if desired.
• Frozen Louisiana crawfish tail meat is available at CajunGrocer or in the frozen seafood section of a well-stocked grocery store. If using freshly cooked, whole crawfish, 5-6 pounds will yield 12 ounces of meat.
• If you cannot find crawfish meat, you can substitute cooked, chopped shrimp.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)