Right now is the height of crawfish season here in South Louisiana. This afternoon,some lovely neighbors had a crawfish boil and enjoy we did. Good clean fun for the whole wretched family. Here's how we do it down here.
Start off with a big giant pot with highly seasoned water and bring to a rolling boil. Seasonings include the mostly commonly used combination of cayenne,salt,various dried herbs,garlic,lemon. Gosh,I know I'm forgetting something here.
Fifty pounds of live crawfish (AKA "crawdaddies") about to plunge into the pot of boiling water.
Now,various other ingredients that will soak up the crawfish boil flavor are added to the pot. Here is some homemade sausage from Lafayette being put in the pot.
Fresh mushrooms. Other additions include whole heads of garlic,whole onions,potatoes,corn, and today,a unique surprise,brussel sprouts.
They're ready,basket pulled out of the pot. (Brave soul, my friend, wearing sandals around all this scalding water!!!)
Standing around the table to eat,no one ever sits down!! Just not how you eat crawfish at a crawfish boil!!
First batch gone. Another batch in the pot. Protocol generally calls for people to take turns at the table,which is usually pretty long. Everyone gets a turn or two at the table,then visits with others sitting around,drinking beer and having a good time.
Magnificent! Is that what you'll be serving all of us when we organize our trip to New Orleans?
Thanks. I haven't had a crawfish boil in a real long time,but,would be up for it. I would go ahead and get a sack of oysters too if y'all behave. Was a fun thread to shoot. You can't ask for a more laid back atmosphere truly. I was standing next to a couple from Scranton.Pennsylvania who had never had crawfish before in their lives. It was a treat to show them and watch them as they learned.
I had never heard of mixing other items in either, and until I saw these photos I would have been against it. But now I see the point of it, because when you are digging into the crawfish or shrimp, you don't have time for the side dishes that were generally prepared -- throwing the side dish into the pot at least makes it accessible!
Knives and forks,that's funny. That I have not seen but, I do recall many other methods people have employed to eat crawfish. Many a tail tale,has been shared over the table of "remember the time when..." I'm sure Bixa could contribute some of her recollections of.
I'm trying to recall when I first started seeing the addition of other ingredients other than corn or potatoes. It's been a while, I'd say 15-20 years. The sausage is a particularly welcome addition/accompaniment. Another one I've seen fairly often is whole baby artichokes. In fact, they had them on Saturday but forgot to put them in the pot. One of the things that is really key in doing this is how careful one needs to be with the seasoning of the water. A too heavy handed toss of the cayenne pepper can and will ruin the whole batch. Some people's tolerance for of course, varies but,I see no point in overdoing it. This fellow had the seasoning down perfectly.
Each batch was fifty pounds. I arrived as the first batch was coming out of the pot,and we had I'd say 12 of us imbibing. The second batch was going in when I was leaving and more people were arriving. (obviously these things are very,very casual). I'd guess that all total, there were 20-25 guests that came and went over the course of the afternoon. I'm sure there were no leftovers.
(A little bit of crawfish trivia I had never heard before: Crawfish can walk forward on their legs,but when they are alarmed they propel themselves backward very quickly with jerks of their tail. In Louisiana the expression "to crawfish" means to back out on a deal.)
Thanks Bixa. I finally did get a decent camera and am slowly mustering it up to get back into posting pics. I need to explore some of the different hosts that are out there to use. I plan to ask L. to give me a hand with this as I am feeling a tad challenged. It's been awhile.
It's a bumper crop this year and the prices, while I'm not exactly sure what they cost per pound (and, it depends on where one goes) for live crawfish, the prices I've seen at some of the local establishments that are already boiled are very reasonable. $2.00 USD -$3.00 is about the average price per pound. A lot of places offer 3lbs. for $7.00. 3lbs. is about the average amount per person.
But, we rarely buy them in either form as we know so any people who host "boils" leaving us sated. We were invited to three yesterday but only attended two of them. That was more than enough.
Last night the Maple Leaf, (a local music club around the corner from us) had a massive boil. Four very long tables set up in the middle of Oak Street. Live music. All the crawfish you could eat and entertainment @ $10.00 a head. Not a bad deal.