Have you ever been to the Florida Keys or the Bahamas or any of the Islands? If you have, you’ll know that conch fritters are an absolutely delicious staple on every restaurant’s menu. But these fritters aren’t just limited to conch. Actually limiting them to just conch is doing yourself a huge disservice. You absolutely need to try these with crawfish tails mixed into the batter. Cousin to the lobster, the slightly sweet, succulent tail meat adds insane flavor and texture to these simple fritters making them the perfect snack or appetizer. Bite into a crunchy, golden brown exterior to reveal a light, fluffy, perfectly seasoned interior speckled with bits of bell pepper, carrots, and best of all, succulent chunks of crawfish.🦞
Here’s why have to give this recipe a try:
- It’s clean eating and uses simple and wholesome ingredients
- The “filler” is fresh veggies and herbs and spices.
- It’s made using 100% whole wheat flour (but you’ll never be able to tell!)
- The contrast of the crunchy outside and light fluffy inside makes these bite-sized mouthfuls addictive.
- The flavors and spices can be adjusted to suit your personal taste and preference.
- Wondering why crawfish is in brackets in the title? It’s because this recipe can accommodate a host of other options from conch to mussel to scallops to shrimp (just ensure whatever protein you use is precooked)
- A bite of the islands awaits you in these humble fritters. Bring your island vacation home with you, you won’t regret it! 🏝️
Let’s talk about the ingredients you’ll need to make these coveted fritters:
- Whole wheat pastry flour: You can also use white whole wheat flour if you prefer. I like these flours for both the much milder whole wheat taste as well as the finer/softer texture that leads to the fritters having a crunchy exterior and light and fluffy interior.
- Potato Starch: You can also use cornstarch if you prefer. This addition acts as both a binder as well as helps the fritters to have a crunchy exterior.
- Baking powder: This is our rising agent. Arguably since we’re using lemon juice you can use half the amount of baking soda in place of the baking powder.
- Egg: The egg is our main binder in this recipe and it also acts as the liquid for our batter. It also will help our batter get a bit of rise as well so don’t substitute it!
- Lemon Juice: The main purpose of it here is to season the crawfish (citrus and seafood marry so well!) but given its acidic nature it will also react with the baking powder (or soda) and activate it’s rising ability.
- Bell Pepper: This ingredient adds both taste and a refreshing crunch of texture as well as a bit of filler to help break up the heaviness of the batter.
- Carrots: Much like the bell peppers, the carrots add, taste, texture, and serves as a great veggie filler.
- Onion: White or yellow, the onion adds a great flavor to the fritters.
- Jalapenos: These are optional and can be subbed for your favorite hot sauce if you prefer but the added heat is wonderful in this fritter.
- Spices: Salt (Pink Himalayan or a sea salt works well), Black pepper, Garlic powder, Smoked Paprika, finely ground Raw Cane Sugar, and fine Thyme are the spices I’ve opted to use.
- Crawfish tails: Ensure that your crawfish are cooked (or precooked). You can use either fresh whole crawfish (more on how to remove the tail meat below) or get just the tail meat. Not a fan of crawfish? This recipe works well with any pre cooked shellfish from conch, shrimp, scallops, mussels, crab meat or even flaked salted pollock/cod (Note: if using salted cod boil it twice before flaking and reduce the salt added by half).
Let’s talk about the “hidden” star of this dish, the crawfish.
By US standards, the crawfish, also called crayfish, crawdads/craw-daddies, mudbugs, or mountain lobsters, are crustaceans that are essentially miniature lobsters. They can be found in lowland freshwater areas, and, depending on the species can live in anything from streams, brooks and creeks to ponds, swamps and ditches. Perhaps the most recognizable celebration of the simple crawfish can be found within Louisiana’s Cajun culture which has celebrated the crawfish for hundreds of years with the iconic and internationally recognizable “crawfish boil” being a state staple.
I’m sure you’re wondering, “how do I get the ‘good stuff’?”
Much like the lobster, when cooked, the crawfish takes on a bright red appearance with the most sought after part of them are their tail meat. Once cooked, removing the tail meat is as simple as twisting the head (which makes up half of the body) off from the tail and removing the first “ring” around the tail (I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to pinch the underside of the ring. Once broken you can simply unwrap that ring) then holding onto the top of the tail meat, gently wiggle the meat side to since while pulling it away from the tail shell. There might me a bit of innards attached to the tail that are yellow and fatty in texture. Those are the hepatopancreas of the crawfish. To remove it, gently pinch it between your fingers and peel it down along the length of the tail, if you did it right, the vein that runs down the tail will come away with it.
What do I do with the innards and heads?!
Broth/Stock, that’s all I need to say. Seriously though, don’t throw out the heads or innards. They are rich and bursting with flavor and nutrients and they make an amazing stock! Simply add some butter to a pot along with carrots, onions, and celery (fun fact: this combination is known as a mirepoix) and allow them to sweat down for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Then, toss the innards and the heads into a pot along with a pinch or two of salt, some bay leaves and peppercorns if you like and top it off with just enough water to cover the heads by an inch. Bring your pot to a rolling boil and then simmer for 30-60 minutes. Strain, cool and there you have it, a rich stock that you can freeze or use right away!
Now that you have your crawfish tails removed, chop them into chunks. I usually cut each tail into about 3-4 pieces. This ensures that each fritter gets a few pieces of tail in them. Even though the crawfish is the celebrated ingredient in these fritters they are not the main ingredient, so we want to be sure that you get at least a piece in each bite!
Now here’s how to make your batter. It’s honestly very simple. To start, add your fillers and spices to a bowl, along with your crawfish tails.
Then, add the lemon juice, milk (or water) and egg to the mixture and stir to fully incorporate all ingredients.
Add your potato starch, baking powder, and flour to the mixture and stir until it’s just combined. If you like, you can mix the potato starch and baking powder into the flour before adding it to the batter. Your batter should be wet and thick but not runny. Let it rest for a couple minutes.
Bring your oil up to 350F. Spoon your batter into the oil by the teaspoonful (they should begin bubbling instantly but there should be no popping or spattering) and allow them to fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Don’t over crowd your pot. I’m using a very small pot so I’m only frying 3-4 at a time. Also, I’m shallow frying mine since I like to use as little oil as I can, but you can deep fry them if you prefer. If shallow frying, turn your fritters over after a minute to allow the other side to fry.
Once golden, carefully remove them from the oil and set them onto a cooling rack or a plate lined with paper towels so that any excess oil can be removed.
Serve your fritters immediately for the best taste and texture. They are fantastic but can go soggy quickly and lose their crunchy exterior. If you happen to have an air fryer you can airfry them at 450F for a couple minutes just to warm them back up and help the outsides crisp up. Another option (this one I haven’t tried yet but I imagine would work) is to lightly toast them in a toaster oven, preferably with the drip tray beneath the rack. If you try that method and it works be sure to let me know!
Well guys, that’s it for another post. I hope you give this recipe a try and if you do, reach out to us and post your fritter pics to show off your mad skills! ❤️
Fried (Crawfish) Fritters
- 12-15 crawfish tails precooked, chopped
- 1/4 large bell peppers diced
- 1/2 small onion diced
- 1/4 cup carrots diced
- 2 tbsp jalapenos diced
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp raw cane sugar finely blended
- 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp fine thyme
- 1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tbsp potato starch
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp Whole Milk or water
Oil for frying
- To a large bowl add the carrots, onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, seasonings (salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, garlic powder and thyme) along with the chopped crawfish tails and toss to mix everything together.
- Add in the egg, lemon juice and milk (or water) and mix.
- Set a pot of oil onto the stove and heat it to 350°F
- Mix the potato starch and baking powder into the flour and add it to the seasoned crawfish mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Drop by the teaspoonful into the hot oil. The fritters should begin to bubble right away as soon as they hit the oil. Do not overcrowd your pot.
- Fry for 1 minute before flipping and frying the other side for another minute. Once fritters are golden brown remove them from the oil and set them onto a cooling rack or plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve immediately.
- Not a fan of crawfish? Use anything from pre cooked conch, shrimp, scallops, mussels, crab meat or even flaked salted pollock/cod (if using salted cod boil it twice before flaking and reduce the salt added by half).
- Garnishes: lemon or lime wedges, chopped parsley Serving sauces: ketchup or a fritter sauce made from ketchup, mayonnaise, hot sauce and lime juice.
If you tried this recipe out feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us on social media (@kitrusycleaneat and #kitrusy) and don’t forget to snap and show off your pics by tagging us so we can celebrate your delectable creations together!