Crawfish season is here!! And has been for a while, this is just our first home made batch this year. One of my favorite seasonal foods. You may call them crawfish, or crayfish or even mudbugs. Me? I just call them good. This post is going to be more about technique than it is about any specific recipe. Thing is, I don’t really have a recipe. Just a bit of this, some of that, and a little of this and you got yourself some Good Eats as Alton Brown would say. The amounts used in this batch was for 6 adults.
First thing you want to do when you get your live crawfish is to dump them into a cooler and fill with cold water. If you are going to cook them soon or its chilly out, there’s no need to ice them down. If it’s a hot day or you are going to wait before cooking them, add some ice with the water. The reason you want them in cold water is not just to keep them alive and fresh, but you also want to “clean them out”. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll see what I mean. The water is going to get really dirty. I recommend draining and refilling it a couple of times until the water is clean. Not necessary, but it can be pretty nasty looking.
While you can do a boil inside, I wouldn’t recommend it. One, if you are doing a big batch, it’s going to take forever to get that water boiling. Two, it’s going to be messy. Three, your house is going to smell. Plus, it’s just more fun to cook outside. You are going to need a propane tank, a propane burner (you should be able to find one for about $25), and an aluminum pot with strainer (starting around $40 depending on how large of one you get)
Once you have your equipment all hooked up, fill up your pot about halfway and set on top of burner. Add your seafood boil spices. I like to use Zatarain’s Extra Spicy Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil.
How much you add is going to depend on the amount you are cooking and your level of heat tolerance. I like to go with about a cup and half to two cups. At this point, add 2 lemons that have been sliced in half. Give them a good squeeze into the water before dropping them in. Bring your water up to a boil. After the water begins to boil, add in some red potatoes. This will vary on your crowd and how hungry they are, but I figure about 2 per person works out pretty good. Let those boil for about 5 minutes and then add your corn. I like to cut each cob into 1/3 and for this batch added in a total of 4 corn cobs.
Allow the corn and taters to boil for another 5 minutes, add in some andouille sausage. Our family likes sausage, so we added in 2lbs of sliced andouille sausage. Allow to boil for 5 more minutes and then turn off flame.
Finally, add in 1 lb of button mushrooms and your crawfish and allow to steep in the water. Don’t worry if they all won’t fit in. We had 15lbs and they didn’t all fit in. Just add what you can and allow them to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. The longer they steep, the spicier they will be. If you have more crawfish, drain the contents of the strainer and dump into a clean ice chest. Return the pot to the burner and restart the flame. Bring the water back up to a boil. At this point, you may want to add another 1/2 cup of seasoning. Once the water is boiling rapidly (which should only take a few minutes), turn the flame off and add the rest of the crawfish. Allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
Now, the best way to serve crawfish is to line an outdoor table with some type of water proof liner. I like to slice open trash bags until they are a flat sheet and then duct tape them down to a table, others use butcher paper or newspaper (but I find it will leak through to the table). Then simple dump out all the drained boil onto the table and stand back while the hoards attack. Unfortunately, we don’t have an outdoor table, so we opted to be a bit more civilized and used a few big platters.
Make sure to have plenty of paper towels and large bowls to throw the head and shells as well as the cobs. Turn on some jazz music, dig in and pretend you are in New Orleans. An ice cold Abita might help with the illusion. 🙂
Mrs. G wanted to add some artichokes to the boil, but the store was out. Tell me about your boils. What other ingredients do you like in your boils? Do you “suck the heads”? That’s where all the good stuff and spice is. 😉 How many pounds can you eat?
And FYI, we had 6 adults eating 15 lbs of crawfish. The next day Mrs. G and I shelled the remaining crawfish…we had 12 oz remaining. Tune in tomorrow to see what we did with it.
Ok, ok, so you still want a recipe? Here’s a loose list for 6 people, adjust to your crowd and what you like. There’s really no wrong or right.
- 15 lbs of live crawfish
- 12 red potatoes
- 4 ears of corn (cut into 1/3)
- 2 lbs of andouille mushrooms
- 1 lb of white button mushrooms
- 2 lemons, sliced in half
- Big ole jar of Zatarain’s Extra Spicy Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil