Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crawfish Monica, a Knock-Off, Maybe Better!

In the early 1980s, Pierre Hilzim created a spicy cream sauce, tossed it with pasta and crawfish tails and named it after his wife, Monica. A loving tribute... and a very profitable one.

Since 1981, the Hilzim's estimate they have served more than 1 million bowls of Crawfish Monica at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival held each spring.  Crawfish Monica is no doubt the New Orleans Jazz Fest's most famous food.

Their recipe is a closely held trade secret of Kajun Kettle Foods, Inc., the Hilzim's food production company, located in New Orleans.  The company  produces more than 160 sauces, soups, entrees, salad dressings and side dishes for restaurants and packaged food brands. Crawfish Monica is the company's premier dish and Jazz Fest is its biggest stage.

2 cups (16 ounces) Half-n- Half
1 cup whipping cream
6 green onions, chopped
1 stick butter
1 pound crawfish tails with fat
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 lb.Rotini pasta cooked al dente
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine the half-n-half and cream in a saucepan and reduce slightly, about 10 minutes. while the cream is warming, saute onions in the butter. Once the onions begin to soften, add in the garlic and saute for another minute.  Add crawfish tails and crawfish fat, salt, pepper, thyme and cayenne.  Stir to combine then add 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and the cream.  Reduce the  and reduce a little more until the sauce is rich and creamy. Add the cooked rotini to the sauce, toss, add the remaining cheese and serve.

Kick back, pour yourself a glass of Pinot Grigio, put on your favorite music and enjoy....pretend it's not winter for a little while!

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