If you grew up in the south, you became very familiar with crawfish boils at a young age. As soon as the temperature takes even a slight turn upwards, a crawfish boil invite is no doubt in your mailbox. Newspaper’d tables, red potatoes and half ears of corn, beer on ice and warm crawfish in a cooler is surely in your spring plans.
The traditional season for crawfish coincides with Lent—the 40-day period before Easter, but nowadays, thanks to crawfish farming, it can start as early as January and last until August. While much of the crawfish industry is grown and harvested all over the south, the beginning days of catching crawfish started when the spring floodwaters arrived and forced the crawfish, or mudbugs, from their burrows, allowing fishermen to gather them in large quantities.
Louisiana and THEIR crawfish
90-95% of the United States commercial crawfish production resides in Louisiana, so it’s no surprise the state deemed the crawfish the state crustacean. Texas, the Carolinas, California, and Arkansas also have sizable crawfish productions. Although Native Americans were the first to start crawfishing, Cajuns became synonymous with the crawfishing industry. Both groups recognized that the small crustaceans were a good source of protein because of the omega 3s and it helped that the meat was tender and sweet once cooked.
No Plates, No Forks, No Problem
Now that we understand a bit of the mudbugs history, let’s jump into how to throw a traditional southern crawfish boil. And shortly we’ll show you what to do with leftover crawfish. First up – you know what’s more important than crawfish at a crawfish boil, good friends and family.
- Round up your favorites, fire up the propane and fill a big-(b)ass stock pot (with strainer) to cook the vegetables and crawfish
- While bringing the pot to a rolling boil, prep your crawfish by rinsing them under cold water, until the water runs clear (you can also buy them cleaned and purged for convenience sake)
- Add Zatarans liquid boil and dry powder to taste then a whole bottle of Franks Red Hot Sauce. Toss in chopped onions, garlic then taste your water – it should be spicy and salty!
- Add in small red potatoes, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts and cook for 15 minutes.
- Once everything is tender to the touch of a fork, remove the strainer basket and empty the vegetables into an empty cooler.
- Make sure not to dump the seasoned water!
- Bring the water back to a rolling boil and add the crawfish and cook for 2-3 minutes then turn off the heat and add in frozen corn (at least a couple dozen so that the temperature of the corn cools off the water.
- Let the crawfish and corn soak for 20 minutes
- Remove crawfish from the pot and add crawfish to the cooler with the vegetables
- And last but most favorite – dump the crawfish and vegetables onto a table that’s been covered in newspaper
Friends and family can saddle up for the feast!
What To Do with Leftover Crawfish?
Just like any Louisiana get together there is sure to be an abundance of food and you will most probably be left with a mound of crawfish and a bunch of full bellies. Fear not, this is great news! Pick that nutritious and tasty meat and feed your crawfish craving for days to come!
Here are some of our favorite ways from Fish Fixe Kitchen to serve up leftover crawfish:
Cali-Cajun Fried Crawfish PoBoys
- (2) 6 oz. packs of crawfish tails (equivalent to 5-6 lbs of whole boiled crawfish)
- 1 c of milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp worcestershire or soy sauce
- 1 c Louisiana Fish Fry or seasoned cornmeal
- Crunchy French bread – buttered and toasted
- Combine: ⅓ cup mayonnaise,1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Red Onion
- Avocado slices
- Avocado Oil (can also use Grapeseed or Vegetable Oil)
- Thoroughly combine all marinade ingredients
- Place crawfish tail meat in marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours
- Bring a heavy bottomed cast iron pan or dutch oven to high heat and add avocado oil until there is 2-3 inches of oil in the bottom of the pan. You need enough oil so that the crawfish tails will fully submerge
- Remove tails a handful at a time from marinade, shake to remove excess marinade then fully coat with dry batter. Repeat until all crawfish are coated
- When oil reaches 375º add battered crawfish tails to oil for 1-2 minutes
- When the tails float to the top of the oil, they are ready. (Note: the crawfish tails are fully cooked so the frying is only to achieve a crispy coating – do not cook longer than 1-2 minutes or they will over cook and become chewy)
- Prepare Po-Boys by coating french bread with sriracha mayo then add arugula, avocado, red onion and crawfish tails
- Finish with a drizzle of sriracha mayo and serve!
And if you’re feeling the post-boil blues, how about serving up crawfish for breakfast. Because why not?
- 6-12 oz. crawfish tail meat (equivalent to 5-6 lbs boiled crawfish )
- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp dry white wine
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Dash of Louisiana hot sauce
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 4-6 poached eggs
- 4-6 English muffins
- Fill a blender with hot tap water and set aside for 5 minutes to warm the blender
- Pour out water
- In a small sauce pan melt butter at medium low heat by swirling it in the pan until the butter reaches a temp of around 150º
- In a blender combine all remaining ingredients and blend for 2 minute then slowly add in butter in a steady stream until incorporated
- Taste and adjust seasonings
- Pour into a serving bowl and fold in crawfish tail meat
- Build your Benedict, muffin, poached egg, topped with crawfish hollandaise!