Crayfish Bisque

Preparation info

  • Yields


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Bill Neal's Southern Cooking

Bill Neal's Southern Cooking

By Bill Neal

Published 1985

  • About

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdad, crawdaddy are what the French call écrevisse, and what the Cajuns tout as a cultural symbol. I shall never forget my first foray into Cajun country. Hand-lettered placards in country store windows announcing “Hot Boudin” or “Fais-do-do Saturday” were a sure sign we had crossed a boundary greater than the Mississippi. In New Iberia, we raced past the Lady Evangeline Funeral Home on our way to Breaux Bridge, the reputed crayfish capital of the country. The restaurant our Mississippi friends had recommended was closed; we were on our own. One-half mile out of town, next to a sluggish brown bayou, I knew we had found the right spot. A ramshackle white frame building was settling under its burden: a twenty-foot-long red fiberglass crayfish. The sign read only “French music.” In the window, no Mobil stars, no praise from Mimi Sheraton, just an autographed picture of Tammy Wynette. Inside, we sat down to an orgy of crayfish—boiled, fried, sautéed, baked. But to start the feast, the waitress acclaimed the bisque; to get it, we had to decipher the insistent, repeated query. Finally, the light dawned; she was asking, in Cajun French, “Combien de têtes?”—how many stuffed heads did we want in our soup?