A Past Edition Of
The New Orleans Menu Daily
By Tom Fitzmorris
A crawfish boil is the great casual food party in South Louisiana, especially in the Cajun country. It's also a celebration of springtime, when the crawfish are available in enough numbers and at a low enough price to buy them live by the sack. April and May are the peak of the crawfish season.
It's brave of me to include a crawfish boil recipe here. Anybody likely to have crawfish available is also likely to have his own special way of boiling them, and will disdain any other. The main reason I boil crawfish is to make crawfish bisque or etouffee later. It is necessary to boil many more than I will need, because we eat the majority of them while peeling them.
The peeling process goes like this. You break the crawfish where the thorax meets the tail. After removing a segment or two of the tail's carapace, you can squeeze the meat out by applying pressure just above the tail fin. There is also some good crawfish fat inside the head, which you need to suck out--but that is not for beginners.
One more subtlety. It's traditional to boil potatoes, corn, heads of garlic, and other things in the pot with the crawfish, and eat them as side dishes. It sounds better than it is, because everything winds up tasting the same. I say (knowing full well I am pronouncing heresy) to cook at least the corn separately.
2. Bring a large stockpot with five gallons of water to a boil. Add all the other ingredients except the crawfish and potatoes and return to a boil. Let it cook for ten minutes.
3. Add the crawfish and the potatoes. Return to a boil, making sure there’s enough water to completely cover the crawfish.
4. Remove one crawfish after 10 minutes and see if it’s cooked through. If so, turn off the heat and let the crawfish steep for 20-30 minutes. Remove the potatoes when they're tender. take the crawfish out when they've absorbed the seasonings to the degree you like.
5. At this point, we commence the peeling and eating process which, if you haven’t learned it, you’re better off picking up from a friend than reading about. The potatoes are a side dish.
Serves eight normal eaters or two serious crawfish fanatics.
Click here for an index of recipes from past editions.
© 2008 Tom Fitzmorris. All rights reserved. firstname.lastname@example.org