Monday, April 14, 2008

A Louisiana crawfish boil

Spring brings with it crawfish season in Louisiana. Although I live in Texas, we're close enough to Louisiana that many of our area grocery stores carry live crawfish (or crayfish, or crawdad's, or whatever you want to call them) during crawfish season. I like crawfish; but, my wife isn't too fond of them; so, I usually just buy a pound or two and cook them up for myself.

But, this year I decided I wanted to have a traditional Louisiana style crawfish boil. So, I bought a 35 pound sack of live crawfish and invited some friends over on Saturday. Now that sounds like a lot. But, truth be told, there isn't much edible meat on a crawfish, so you figure on about 3-5 pounds per person.

Cooking them up is easy - you just need a big pot, and it's best to do it outdoors because it is messy. First you soak the live crawfish in a bucket of salt water to purge them; then you boil them with some potatoes, corn, sausage, and crawfish seasoning (boil for 2 minutes and then turn off the heat and them them sit for 15-20 minutes). I was using a turkey fryer pot which was only able to hold about 10 pounds of crawfish with other stuff; so, we had to do it in batches.

You can see here the tubs we were using to keep the live crawfish in, the bucket we were soaking them in salt water for purging, and the cooking pot back by the fence.

Here is a batch of cooked crawfish - ready to eat. Then everybody just digs in while the next batch is cooking. Here is a link to the recipe I used with instructions on how to eat crawfish. And, in case anybody is wondering, no I don't suck heads (crawfish heads - get your minds out of the gutter).

Louisiana Crawfish Boil

This makes for a very slow and leisurely dinner. We started at about 5-ish and at 8pm we were still out on the deck peeling and eating crawfish. And it's messy, so you need lots of napkins. The crawfish boil seasoning has a bunch of paprika in it which gets all over your fingers and lips while you are eating - like I said, it is messy :)

Somebody pointed out that, since you are spending most of the time peeling shells off, it leaves a lot of time for talking and enjoying the company. I was thinking about that comment, and how we live in such a fast paced society - we hardly ever take the time to just sit and enjoy the company of family and friends.

Our friends also brought food; so, we had quite a bit of crawfish left over (the entire last batch) after everyone had their fill; so, we peeled the rest and made crawfish etouffee for dinner on Sunday - good eats!

Too bad none of my MoHo friends live close to me (even the ones who live in Texas are still a couple hundred miles away). Nobody ever leaves hungry when we throw a party!!! I'm thinking this just might become an annual event in the Abelard household; so, if you're gonna be in Texas next spring ...

Next, I want to dig a pit in my back yard and roast a whole pig - Hawaiian style :)

Seriously, I really do want to roast a pig in my back yard :) Hmmm, I wonder where I can buy a whole pig?


Kengo Biddles said...

I'm sure any butcher could get you a whole pig to roast...leisurely dinners are the key to having a really great time while avoiding the american trend to eat until you're over-full because we eat so fast.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

I have a really good friend from Louisiana, and when he lived in Utah, we'd go cray(craw)fishing up near Strawberry Reservoir.

Two summers ago we went in April and I forgot to bring sunscreen. After an hour drive out there in a topless jeep, hours and hours in the sun fishing, and the drive back I was pretty cooked. The next morning I woke up to discover that I had gotten 2nd degree sunburn all over my forehead, nose, ears and neck.

We had fun eating the crawfish though.

Sean said...

I love roasted pig. We had that a fair bit in the Philippines...Lichon is what they call it. so very yummy.

plus it sounds like a wonderful evening was enjoyed by all at the (new) annual crawfish cookout at Abe's place. :)

J G-W said...

Göran refuses to eat anything that needs to be boiled alive. And we're both vegetarians. But if we were down in your neck of the woods, we would still LOVE to join you.

Maybe we could eat the garnishes... very slowly.