Mikey Legendre knows no rules. Everything is up for grabs when he cooks. And the Lafayette barber is young — only 37, so his best years for culinary creativity are probably still ahead of him.
We first met him at the Louisiana Sportsman’s Show in Gonzales, Louisiana, where he was promoting his Ay Yi Yie Cajun Seasoning. He is proud of it.
“I was never pleased with the flavors of anything that I tried,” he explained. “During a New Orleans Saints game, I went into the kitchen and started mixing all the different flavors I enjoyed cooking with.”
He brought a sample of the mix to his wife Ashley to try. “Where did you get this from,” was her reply?
“The flavor of it was different than anything we had ever tried before,” she explained to us. “It has some sweetness to it.”
“It has flavor,” asserted Mikey vigorously.
“The ‘Ay Yi Yie’ name comes from an expression that a lot of Cajun people use. In Cajun it has multiple meanings. It’s what you say when you hurt yourself or what you say when something is really good.”
Deep Fried Deviled Shrimp Eggs
“I saw a picture of deep-fried deviled eggs and said to myself, ‘I’m going to try something like this.’ Theirs had a piece of bacon on it. It was on Ash Wednesday that I first tried cooking it, so I did it with sauteed shrimp instead of bacon.”
This dish is beyond description. The texture is absolutely amazing. The fried egg is delightfully crunchy and the filling is creamy-smooth, creating a great contrast and mouth-feel. Then each egg is set off by a savory shrimp.
TIP: According to Mikey, this dish is just as delicious when boiled, peeled crawfish tails are substituted for the shrimp.
TIP: The jalapeño relish used in this recipe can be made immediately before use, but is best if made several days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
- 2 pickled jalapeño peppers
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp,
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Cajun seasoning, to taste
- 1 dozen large eggs, boiled and cooled
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. yellow mustard
- 3 raw eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 5-oz. bag Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators potato chips
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Oil for deep frying
PREPARATION: Serves 6 as an appetizer.
Remove the stems and seeds from the jalapeño peppers and puree. Add brown sugar and mix thoroughly to make a jalapeño relish.
In another bowl, mix the shrimp, olive oil and Cajun seasoning. Place in the refrigerator to marinate.
Peel the eggs and cut each egg in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a mixing bowl. Set the whites aside.
Mix the yolks, mayonnaise and mustard and jalapeno relish to taste.
Season with Cajun seasoning and then set aside.
In a separate bowl, make an egg wash by whisking the raw eggs and milk.
Fill a quart plastic zipper bag half full of potato chips, seal and crush them by hand.
Combine the crushed chips with the panko bread crumbs in a plate. Mix well.
Dip the boiled egg white halves in the egg wash, then dredge them in the flour. Repeat the egg wash and flour steps again, then roll the egg whites in the potato chip and panko mixture.
Deep fry at 350 degrees until golden brown. When cooled enough to handle, fill the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture. Sauté the marinated shrimp in a frying pan until just done. Top each egg with a sautéed shrimp.
Ay Yi Yie Crawfish Pie
“This recipe was passed down to me from my mom, who in turn got it from Cathy Murray, a really good cook from Labadieville and who probably created it.”
When made in small pastry shells, it is a really good party food. It is just as good made with large pie shells though. This recipe provides enough for one 9-inch pie shell.”
TIP: Chicken stock is an adequate substitute for seafood stock.
TIP: To prevent the shells of these pies from drying out, monitor the oven closely during baking.
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 4 tbsp. flour
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
- 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 cup seafood stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 lb. peeled crawfish tails
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 16 small pie shells or one 9” pie shell
PREPARATION: Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 to 16 as an appetizer.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Melt butter over moderate heat.
Stir in flour and continue stirring frequently until browned (approximately 10 minutes) to make a roux.
Add onion, bell pepper and tomato and sauté until tender.
Add Cajun seasoning, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Stirring constantly, slowly add seafood stock, and cream. Increase heat to medium and simmer until the volume is reduced by half.
Remove the skillet from heat and add crawfish, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
Spoon filling into pie shells, about 2 heaping tablespoons in each. Don’t overfill.
Bake until the crust is golden brown.