CHICAGO (WLS) --We are in the middle of crawfish season right now.
There are live ones making their way up from Louisiana every week, at least through June. At Analogue in Logan Square this week the chef is recreating dishes he grew up with in New Orleans.
This time of year reminds Alfredo Nogueira of childhood crawfish boils in his native Louisiana. And now that local distributors can get mudbugs shipped live, it opens up a whole new market.
"One of our vendors in New Orleans, we buy direct. So we place an order with them and they basically FedEx it to our customers. So there's really no middle person. It goes right from the swamps to the restaurants," said Michael Clark, of Fortune Fish Company.
At Analogue, cocktails and Cajun food are the focus. Nogueira is getting ready for the restaurant's first boil of the season, tossing in andouille sausage, mushrooms, corn and potatoes, plus a ton of seasoning.
"A lot of bay, there a lot of coriander in there, oils seeping out of the lemons; we throw a million cloves of garlic in there, but I think the primary fragrance comes from bay," said Nogueira.
He's also using crawfish tail meat in a traditional etouffe, "which is a smothered crawfish dish. We do a dark Cajun roux with it. Finish it with a lot of butter and serve it with Louisiana popcorn rice," he said.
Also, combining the tails with aioli, herbs, tarragon, celery and lemon juice, then stuffing it into a traditional New England-style hot dog bun, to make a crawfish roll.
But the real excitement is the boil, which usually involves gathering friends together, drinking beers and eating crawfish over spread-out newspapers.
"Suck the heads, pinch the tails," said Nogueira.
The crawfish etoufee is currently on the dinner menu and the crawfish roll will be on the brunch menu, but the crawfish boil is going start in about a week or two.
Best to check their website just to make sure.
EXTRA COURSE: The biscuits at Analogue in Logan Square
2523 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago