For four short months each year—usually March through June—the Southeastern shores of the U.S. are teeming with the bright red freshwater crustaceans known as crayfish (or crawfish, crawdads, or mudbugs) and with the first sighting of these tiny cousins of lobsters, it’s safe to say that spring has finally sprung. This gumbo recipe by Jeff Balfour, chef at the San Antonio hot spot Southerleigh, takes advantage of the sweet, succulent meat that’s so highly prized during this fleeting season. Served at his recent Beard House dinner, Balfour's recipe features pulled chicken, crispy okra, herbs, and smoked ham for a hearty bowl that’s steeped in Southern comfort fare traditions. Get the recipe.
Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.