Cooking Class: Crawfish Balls + Wine

Angela Schmidt’s crispy, fried Crawfish Balls featured in my November JONES IS HUNGRY column in B-METRO, is one of those recipes her customers ask for over and over again.

But what about the wine?

I prefer a soft, fruity but weighty white. A heftier white with ripe fruit and a touch of oak can handle golden, deep-fried exterior and still cut through the creamy Lemon Dipping Sauce.

Try a Chardonnay from Chile’s top white-wine producing region, the Casablanca Valley. While still below the radar screens of many consumers, these quaffable whites are popping up on shelves all over town.  With toasty layers of apples and pears plus a hint of fresh citrus, fun-loving Chilean chardonnays are a terrific value comfortably wedged between pricier, more complex white Burgundies and big, food-clobbering butter-bombs.

A few of my favs you can find in and around Birmingham:

  1. Viña Cono Sur, Chardonnay, Chile
  2. Veramonte, Reserva Chardonnay, Chile
  3. Los Vascos, Chardonnay, Chile
  4. Casa Lapostolle, Cuvée Alexandre, Chile
  5. Cousiño Macul, Antiguas Reservas, Chile

Crawfish “Boudin” Balls with Lemon Dipping Sauce

2 lb domestic crawfish tail meat, minced (may substitute shrimp)

1⁄4 cup celery

1⁄4 cup green bell pepper

1⁄4 cup red onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika (sweet)

2 cups cooked white rice

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 cups panko bread crumbs, plus more as needed

1⁄2 cup all purpose flour, plus more as needed

Salt & Pepper, to taste

 

METHOD:

1. In a hot large sauté over medium high heat, then add 2 T oil and trinity (celery, green pepper, red onion); cook, while stirring, for 3 minutes or until vegetables are soft but not browned.

2. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant before adding the crawfish and seasonings.

3. Next, add the rice and chicken stock; Cooking for at least 2-3 minutes for the flavors to meld. transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool briefly.

4. Mix in the bread crumbs and flour. You are looking for the mixture to hold together. Taste and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread out on sheet tray and place in refrigerator to cool completely.

5. Once cooled, the mixture should be sticky enough to roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Toss in additional bread crumbs and fry lightly in oil until golden brown, drain. Serve with Lemon Dipping sauce.

 

Lemon Dipping Sauce:

1 1/2 Cup of homemade mayonnaise

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

 

METHOD:

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bow and whisk together.  Season according to taste.

Recipe courtesy of Angela Schmidt