Food & Drink

Celebrate Mardi Gras with Cajun-style cooking

Mardi Gras Day is Feb. 24 this year and the chefs at The Culinary Institute of America suggest you celebrate it Cajun-style by serving Crawfish Etouffee.

According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, the humble crawfish (known more widely as crayfish) owes its stardom to the Cajuns and is plentiful in the freshwaters of Louisiana’s bayous and lakes. Crawfish finds its way into many dishes, but the little crustacean is mostly identified with etouffee, a Cajun translation of “smothered,” derived from the French etouffer.

“Etouffee is the name given to dishes like this one that are gently cooked in a covered pot,” said CIA Chef Kathy Polenz. “Crawfish, or crayfish, are sold live or as cooked meat. If you buy crawfish meat, look for the words fat-on. Crawfish fat is an integral part of a good etouffee.”

So, let the chefs of the CIA show you how to “laissez les bon temps rouler!” (“let the good times roll!”), by cooking up a pot of Crawfish Etouffee for Mardi Gras this year.

For a video demonstration of how to prepare Crawfish Etouffee, visit