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Louisiana Crawfish Boil

Louisiana Crawfish Boil
A crawfish boil is to the South what a clambake is to the Northeast. This feast is ideal for a casual gathering of friends who know one another well enough to dive into a heaping mound of steaming crawfish, corn and potatoes with bare fingers and good appetites. Serve with lots of napkins, cocktail sauce and clarified butter for dipping, plus ice-cold beer.

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 oz. packaged crab and crawfish boil or
     Creole seasoning
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 18 lb. crawfish in the shell
  • 18 small new potatoes
  • 6 ears of yellow corn, husks and silk removed
     and ears halved

Directions:

Fill a very large stockpot about two-thirds full with water. Add the seasoning, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, lemon slices and vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat. Add about one-third of the crawfish. Return to a boil and cook until the crawfish are firm and bright, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large, clean bowl and cover. Repeat with the remaining crawfish in two more batches, adding them to the bowl as they are done.

Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Add the corn and continue cooking until the corn is just tender, about 4 minutes more. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and corn to another bowl.

Heap the cooked crawfish onto several large serving platters (or cover a picnic table with newspapers for dining alfresco). Serve with the potatoes and corn.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New American Cooking Series, The South, by Roy Overton (Time-Life Books, 2000).