May 17, 2011

Mudbugs Go Mexican

For Easter, we had a traditional crawfish boil. 

Although we tried our hardest, there were leftovers.  I had plans for those leftovers before they were even peeled.

The next morning, my dad suggested crawfish omelets.  I considered crawfish stuffed peppers to use up the rest of the tails.  But with a crop of peppers just starting in the garden, it was hard to pay $1 a piece at the store.

But Mexican squash (or calabacitas or tatuma) were on sale.  And I had green chilies in the pantry and sour cream in the fridge.  My mudbugs were going Mexican!

There was a time when crawfish were boiled.  Or turned into etouffee and served over rice.  Not turned into enchiladas or "burgers."  Or stuffed into squash.  But things change.

In the mid 80s when Chef Paul Prudhomme blackened redfish and the world got a spicy whiff of Cajun & Creole cooking, fusion dishes have been popping up everywhere.  Crawfish fettuccine.  Crab nachos.  Crawfish manicotti.  Shrimp and andouille pizza.  Crawfish alfredeaux.  Pastalaya.  These dishes are seen even in S LA where tradition is as important as breathing.  And drinking coffee.

On one hand, it makes sense.  I mean, who wouldn't want to try our food in some form?  Or a more humble reason--there are so many influences on Cajun & Creole Cuisines.  French, German, Italian, Spanish, African, Native American.  I think it makes them easily adaptable.  And I kinda like the idea that people out there are trying our food and putting their own spin on it based on what they're used to and what they have.  Use what you know and what you have is how we cook, after all.

On the other hand, some of these fusion dishes take things too far for my taste.  I often find myself hoping that there are still enough people out there craving authentic Cajun & Creole dishes.  I worry that all these sexed up restaurant style hybrid dishes--along with jarred roux and minute rice--could cause a loss of identity.  I worry about that.  Sometimes.  But not so much that I couldn't enjoy my crawfish calabacitas.

Olé, cher!

I started with calabacitas, boiled crawfish (I think shrimp would work too), sour cream, green chilies, green onion, jack cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  After tasting and looking at the filling, I added cumin and some diced roma tomato for color.

First, place the squash in a microwave safe dish with 1/3 cup water.  Cook for 7 minutes and test with a knife.
You want to be able to easily insert a knife.  If needed (depends on how large your squash are), cook for longer in 1 minute intervals.  Set the squash aside to cool.

What are you sitting around for?  While the squash cools, make the filling!

Slice the top 1/3 off of each squash.  Scoop out the flesh, leaving some intact to help support the squash.  Chop the squash you've removed and add it to the filling, avoiding seeds and overly liquidy flesh.

Fill the shells, top with cheese, and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Some things I need to change:
While I thought these were beautiful and tasty, when we cut into them they were also too liquidy.  I should have done a better job avoiding the watery portions of the squash.  And it wouldn't have hurt to set the squash upside down for a few minutes to drain.  And I should have taken the time to drain the chilies.

Crawfish Calabacitas
from Ms. enPlace

4 medium calabacitas (Mexican squash or tatuma), or yellow squash or zucchini
1 large roma tomato, seeded and chopped--reserve some for garnish if desired
about 1/4 c chopped green onion
1 (4 oz) can green chilies, drained well
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked crawfish (or shrimp)
1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream
salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin to taste
heaping 1/2 cup Monterrey jack, Colby jack, or pepper jack (divided)

Place squash in a microwave safe dish with 1/3 c water. Microwave for 7 minutes and check for doneness. A sharp knife should easily pierce the squash, but the squash should not be falling apart. If not done, cook in 1 minute intervals, checking after each.

Let the squash cool.

Meanwhile, mix together the tomato, green onion, chilies, crawfish and sour cream. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin. Mix in a heaping 1/4 cup of cheese.

Slice the top 1/3 off of each squash. Scoop out the flesh, leaving some along the edges to help support the squash, and dice. Add to the crawfish mixture, avoiding seeds if possible.

Fill the shells and top each with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with reserved diced tomato, chopped green onion, or chives.


Food on Friday: Mexican Food @ Carole's Chatter
Make a Food-"e"-Friend Monday #13 @ The Saturday Evening Pot
Tuesdays at the Table @ All The Small Stuff
Hearth and Soul vol 48 @ A Moderate Life
Delectable Tuesday @ Home Sweet Farm
Made it on Monday #9 @ Lark's Country Heart
Tip Day Thursday @ Around My Family Table
What's Cooking Thursday @ Feeding Four
Potluck Friday @ EKat's Kitchen
Foodie Friday @ Little Brick Ranch
Seasonal Saturday @ la bella vita


  1. That looks delicious!

  2. That looks soooo good! day I will particpate in your garden meme. it's still chillier than normal here. Nothing planted yet.

  3. That does look incredibly good. One day I'll try crawfish!

  4. I love how you took these in a whole other crazy insane direction! Those stuffed zucchini look SO good!

  5. Okay, I'll have to try this, but with shrimp - love the idea!!

  6. My hubby is from Lousianna (thats how we pronounce it) And he says this reminds him of home!

    Thanks for linking up to Made it on Monday,

  7. I really have to try this... looks so amazingly tasty. great idea! Thanks for sharing this with hearth and soul hop

  8. ohh......such a yummy recipe...sounds delicious..
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  9. A little bit of squash juice never hurt anyone! This dish looks great - thanks for linking up to Friday Potluck.

  10. Oh my goodness! These stuffed squashes look amazing! I didn't know those are Mexican squashes until now. They are quite popular in Asia for stir fry and I cook them all the time (I was thinking they are Asian squashes the whole time! LOL) I'm glad I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.



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