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bite the boulette: crawfish boulettes forever!

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By Jen White · April 9, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Life gets a little sweeter when you have some crawfish boulettes sitting around waiting to be noshed. Boulettes are hushpuppy-sized fried rounds of a crawfish, breadcrumb, and vegetable mixture, usually served with a remoulade or tartar sauce. I've seen them described as a crawfish hushpuppy before, but in truth, they're much lighter, softer, and more delicate than a hushpuppy.  Folks eat them as a side dish to a catfish or shrimp fry, as appetizers to meals like etouffee or gumbo, on their own with fries and coleslaw, over rice in either a brown or red gravy, tossed in Italian-stye red gravy and spaghetti, or flattened a little between po-boy bread as a sandwich (like a crabcake sandwich). They're like a little bit of spring, and a huge reward that comes from picking the crawfish tails no one can eat at the end of one of these:

An Easter crawfish boil! What all the lucky children get to attend.  Our brother-in-law Jeremy made this one, and he put cauliflower in it (yum!) and artichoke, which is the best treasure at the boil. The artichoke heart becomes extremely tender and filled with boil juices, then you carve it and divvy it up to share. It melts in your mouth.

But on to the tails:  If you have no freshly picked tails, you can still make boulettes with a one-pound bag of frozen crawfish tails; just make sure they are from LOUISIANA, NOT CHINA. I can't all-caps this statement enough. If the price is prohibitive, you can substitute cooked shrimp. Heck, you can even substitute crab, but that would definitely take the priceline in the other direction.

Most recipes for boulettes keep the vegetables raw, but we like to saute them first to sweeten the flavor and refine the texture a bit. I rolled my boulettes in a mixture of flour, cornmeal, and breadcrumbs for textural interest, but you can use any combination of these to equal 1 1/2 cups.  I've included a spunky little tartar sauce recipe that should make you feel like you're not in Kansas anymore.  I hope you try these!  If you like crab cakes, you'll be a fan for sure.

crawfish boulettes with spunky tartar sauce

  • 1 small yellow onion, in small dice
  • 1 stalk celery, in small dice
  • 1/2 a green bell pepper, in small dice
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 slices bread, toasted (I threw some leftover hot dog buns and whole wheat in there) (or 1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs)
  • 1 pound cooked crawfish tails (include any yellow fat with them)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • a few shots of Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste


for breading and frying:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 cups vegetable oil, or enough to fill your pot with 2" of oil


spunky tartar sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Creole or Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon drained capers
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 shots Tabasco


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, green onions, and garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Saute for about 7 minutes, until soft.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Tear the bread into 1" pieces and place them in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until breadcrumbs are formed.  To the breadcrumbs, add the cooled vegetable mixture, the crawfish tails, the egg, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and cayenne.  Pulse several times until everything is finely chopped and well combined.  Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot to 360 degrees (when you throw a small cube of bread in the oil, it should immediately start sizzling and turning into a crouton, but not burning).  Meanwhile, form the boulettes: Place the 2 beaten eggs in a small bowl, and combine the flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in another bowl.  Scoop the crawfish mixture into golfball-sized balls, gently coat in beaten egg, then gently dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Handle them lightly, for they are fragile as angel wings.
  4. When the oil is hot, gently lower boulettes in batches to avoid overcrowding, and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.  Remove to paper towel-lined plates using a slotted spoon.  Let drain and cool for several minutes before eating.
  5. For tartar sauce: mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well-combined.  Taste for seasoning; I didn't need to add any salt, but you might want some.


Makes about 20 boulettes: enough for 6 side dish servings, or 4 entree-ish servings


Tagged with: boil, boulette, crawfish, fried
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