Soft-Shell Crawfish Carmine

Carmine’s was a seafood and Italian restaurant with some unusual specialties. Its most famous was an artichoke stuffed with fried seafood. Another was soft-shell crawfish, which began to appear in the late 1980s. They went out of vogue, mainly because they were hard to find. But Carmine’s kept serving them until it closed in 2012. Soft-shell crawfish have to be raised very intensively, so their price is a bit much. Worth trying as a curiosity, though.


  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped or julienned tasso
  • 1 green onion, tender green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. Creole seasoning
  • 16 soft-shell crawfish
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 Tbs. Creole seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil for frying

1. Make the sauce first. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Add the green onions and tasso and cook for a minute. Add the heavy cream and Creole seasoning. Reduce by one-third.

2. While that process is going on, rinse and shake dry the crawfish. Snip the pointy rostrums off the fronts of their heads. Season the flour with Creole seasoning, then dust the crawfish in the seasoned flour.

3. Combine the milk and eggs. Dip floured crawfish into the mixture and shake off the excess. Dredge them in the seasoned flour.

4. Heat the oil in a skillet to 350 degrees. Fry the crawfish until golden brown. Remove and keep warm.

5. Spoon the sauce on warm plates and line up four of the crawfish on each.

Serves four appetizers.

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