#FRIDAYFOOD – Crawfish boils

I am a little weirded out about eating at a crawfish boil. I will be the first to say I have grown up a picky eater, but work very hard to try new things! It is becoming a mission of sorts to expand my “gourmet palate.” (When I just can’t make myself like something that everyone else in the world seem to LOVE, I always explain it as an underdeveloped gourmet palate!”

But I have also worked as a food editor for many years, and know the importance of being polite, especially when someone has gone out of their way to prepare you something special. Let’s just say, I have eaten octopus ceviche for a story on a new restaurant – and it was everything in my power to finish that meal without grimacing!

I was introduced to crawfish boils at Ole Miss and have attended many over the years for various fundraising events. I am learning to like it, but it is still hard to get over the “bug” aspect of the mudbug.

Boiled Crawfish

STEP 1: Wash crawfish thoroughly with running water, removing any that are crushed.

STEP 2: Fill a large pot with enough water to cover crawfish. Add powdered seasoning mix to the water. One lb. of powdered crawfish boil will cook about 15 lbs. of crawfish. The powdered premixed seasoning contains salt, lemon, onion, garlic, and many other spices needed for real “Cajun flavor”. Bring water to a rolling boil.

STEP 3: Place crawfish in water, cover, return water to a boil, and boil about 1- 2 minutes. Turn off fire and let crawfish soak for 15-20 minutes depending on the amount of spices desired.

STEP 4: Prepare vegetables while crawfish are soaking. The standard favorites are corn-on-the-cob and potatoes. However, try mushrooms, carrots, whole onions, whole garlic, and any other vegetables of your choice. Boil the vegetables in the water after removing the crawfish, keeping in mind they will not take long to cook and they soak up the spices quickly. Start the potatoes first and add the others right before the potatoes are almost fork tender.

STEP 5: Remove crawfish from water and place in an ice chest. The box the crawfish are shipped in works great for this purpose! Place a 2″ layer of crawfish then sprinkle an even layer of LA Crawfish Co. Creole Seasoning and a layer of salt (if desired). Continue layering crawfish and seasoning until all crawfish are in the chest.

STEP 6: Place the lid tightly on the chest and let the crawfish steam approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the vegetables.

STEP 7: Uncover and enjoy!!!

I asked social media friends and followers if they ate crawfish and if they cooked it themselves or purchased boiled crawfish.

Stephanie Stephens said her son, Collin, eats crawfish and loves it!

Brandi Velcek said she has never had crawfish but would love to try it! Jenny Moore was shocked she had never tried mudbugs!

“Oh girl, you are missing out!” Moore said to Velcek. “You should get some from Tom’s Crustacean in Eupora one weekend! Amazing!”

Stephanie Galloway loves mudbugs.

“Brewski’s has always been my favorite place to get mudbugs, but Tom’s Crustacean has them beat hands down” Galloway said. “The fact that they’re local, makes it even better!”

Several people love to buy crawfish from Tom’s Crustacean – a food truck/vendor in Eupora—including Beverly Taylor. Another popular boiled crawfish vendor is Jimmy’s Crawfish in West Point.

“I love me some mudbugs,” said Tonya Hoadley. “I will only get them from Jimmy Bell at Jimmy’s Crawfish in West Point.”

Rob Turner said he is a fan of John’s Grocery in West Point, but he travels to Louisiana frequently – especially when they are in season.

Lisa Rushing said Piggly Wiggly has a five-pound bag of already seasoned crawfish for $14.99.

“They are awesome and have just the right seasoning,” Rushing said.

Lynn Chicarell said she is not a seafood or crawfish fan, but said several friends buy the Shrimp and Crab boil spices from Penzy’s Spices. (It can be found online at http://www.penzeys.com.)

“I always buy my spices in bags there, not the jars,” Chicarell said. “It seems a bit expensive, but it is all spices, not cheap salt as a filler.”

On the other hand, I am CRAZY about crawfish sauce on my Cajun chicken or in my Cajun pasta salad. YUM!

I will say, in some of my food experimenting, I have had Crawfish Bisque. This recipe has the cleaned crawfish heads and I KNOW I didn’t eat that. I am thinking I had Boulets with the bisque I have tried. It was good!

Crawfish Bisque

2 Pound(s) Louisiana Crawfish Tail Meat, fat on

4 Tablespoon(s) butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped fine

3 Clove(s) garlic, minced

4 celery ribs, chopped fine

1 12 Cup(s) bread crumbs

1 12 Cup(s) green onion tops

1 12 Cup(s) parsley

2 eggs, beaten

Louisiana Crawfish Creole Seasoning, to taste

25-30 cleaned crawfish heads

1 Tablespoon(s) lemon juice

1 large onion, chopped

4 Tablespoon(s) Kary’s brand roux mix

1 small can tomato paste

1 Tablespoon(s) sugar

Louisiana Crawfish Hot Sauce, to taste

Worcestershire sauce, to taste

1 Cup(s) cold water

Stuffing for the Heads or Boulets: Melt butter in deep skillet Show and add medium onions, bell pepper, 1 clove of minced garlic and 2 celery ribs – sauté until transparent. ShowChop 1 pound of crawfish coarsely and add to Creole seasoning. Heat until warm. Remove from heat. ShowAdd bread crumbs, ½ cup of green onion tops, ½ cup of parsley, and eggs – blend to mix well. ShowStuff heads or make Boulets. Show

To make Boulets: Roll stuffing into 1 ½ -2” balls. ShowRoll in flour and deep fry in 350 degree oil. ShowBoulets are done when they float to the top of the oil. ShowThey can be used immediately or frozen for later use Show

To make sauce: Melt butter in large pot. ShowAdd 2 cloves minced garlic, large onion, 2 celery ribs and sauté. ShowAdd remaining crawfish and lemon juice, sauté five minutes more. ShowMix Kary’s brand roux mix with cold water. ShowAdd the roux mixture, tomato paste, and sugar into the crawfish pot. ShowSeason to taste with Creole seasoning. Show

Add 1quart water and let simmer approximately 1 ½ hours, adding water if necessary. ShowAdd the stuffed heads or boulets and simmer 45 min. ShowAbout 10 minutes before serving add green onions and parsley. ShowServe in bowls over rice with hot French bread.

Do you have a favorite crawfish recipe? Send it to me at gwenwoodssisson@yahoo.com.


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