‘Tis the season for crawfish and shrimp boils, held especially every Friday of Lent. Seafood boils are a favorite spring pastime in New Orleans, and they’re a fun gathering perfect for a sunny afternoon on the River or in your backyard. With these two recipes, you can take the New Orleans-style crawfish or shrimp boil home with you to share with your family and friends—a fine alternative to a BBQ.
Famous New Orleans chef Frank Davis has his own recipe for cooking a 43-pound sack of crawfish, the perfect size for a crawfish boil with family and friends.
1 whole stalk of celery
4 heads of garlic (tops removed)
12 lemons, sliced or quartered
6 large onions
10 bay leaves
3-4 boxes salt
1/2 cup cayenne pepper
8 oz. liquid crab boil (or 6 bags dry crab boil)
10 ears of corn (cut in thirds)
30 “B” size creamer potatoes
3 lbs. smoked sausage
1. The first thing you do is empty your crawfish in a No. 3 washtub and cover them completely with cold water.
2. Makes no difference where your crawfish come from (farm pond or swamp), the only thing you must do is wash them. I recommend you do at least 4 or 5 washings, dumping the old water after each filling of the tub. In short, you should wash until the water comes out clean.
3. Then drain off the last rinse completely and get your boiler ready.
4. In a large pot – 90 to 102 quart is suggested if you plan to boil the entire sack at once – put in enough water to completely cover the crawfish when they are added, and bring it to a rapid boil.
5. Then, toss in all the ingredients except the corn, potatoes & sausage and boil them for about 15 minutes – you want the flavors to mix and create a seasoned “stock”.
6. Next, drop in the corn on the cob, potatoes and smoked sausage. You want to put them in before you put in the crawfish (because the crawfish cook quickly, and if you don’t pre-cook the “lagniappe”, the entire boil won’t be finished at the same time).
7. Let the lagniappe cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
8. When all the “extras” are three-quarters done, add your crawfish and cover the pot.
9. The water will stop boiling immediately. So here’s how you figure cooking time. Just watch the pot, and when the water comes back to a full boil, time your crawfish for just about “2 minutes”, shut off the fire, and remove it from the burner.
10. Then drop some crushed ice on top of the crawfish, (which will make them sink), and soak the crawfish for about 25 minutes so that they pick up the seasonings. I do suggest you test the seasoning every 5 minutes or so to keep the crawfish from getting too spicy for your taste.
If that recipe is a little long and complicated for you, you can try this simple boiled shrimp recipe from Zatarain’s, who makes its own concentrated shrimp and crab boil seasoning mixture. This is also a recipe for a much smaller batch if you’re looking to cook for your home instead of a huge crawfish boil gathering.
2 quarts water
2 pounds large (21 to 30 count) shrimp
2 teaspoons Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil
1. Bring water and salt to boil in large saucepot.
2. Stir in shrimp and Crab Boil. Return to boil; cover. Cook 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat. Let stand 2 minutes. Drain well.
If you are coming to stay with us soon and have never eaten crawfish, I’ll send you over to Superior Seafood which is only blocks away from Southern Comfort Bed and Breakfast….they are serving crawfish from Thursday to Sunday and they are the best…..hot and spicey with corn on the cob, sausage and mushrooms. Catch them during Happy Hour and bet those beers for half price.