The Food and Drug Administration, marine scientists, environmental experts and members of the fishing community all agree that the seafood on the market from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat. Now I’m giving it the Batali stamp of approval. Gulf seafood is back. And crawfish, one of the Gulf area’s beloved crustaceans, is no exception.
Crawfish are small freshwater crustaceans prevalent in southeastern North America – the South’s answer to Maine lobster. Only a small portion of the body of a crawfish is edible. In this recipe, I use tail meat.
Like all crustaceans, crawfish shed their shells, or molt, in order to grow. After they molt, the crawfish shells are thin, soft and edible. These soft-shell crawfish used to be considered an inferior product. Now we know better.
Frozen soft-shell crawfish are just as tasty as fresh, and often more readily available. Allow them to thaw at room temperature. They pair perfectly with the jalapeno-basil mixture in this recipe.
This dish is the perfect embodiment of my credo: Use the best local ingredients as simply as possible and serve them with flourish and joy. At my restaurants, we cook as an Italian might in America, using seasonal ingredients from our surroundings.
Use American crawfish in this Italian-style preparation for a supremely delicious combination of Italian flavors and domestic ingredients.
Mario Batali is the owner of Babbo, Lupa, Otto and other renowned restaurants. His latest book is “Molto Batali,” published by Ecco.