Cajun legend has it that when the Acadians were exiled from Nova Scotia in the 1700s, the lobsters missed them so terribly that they went in search of them. The forlorn crustaceans’ journey was so arduous that when they finally reached Louisiana, they were only a tiny fraction of their original size. And that’s how we got our beloved crawfish!
As you’ve no doubt realized, crawfish season upon us, and good news — there’s a bumper crop of great big ones this year! Mudbug lovers are generally divided into two groups: boil-it-yourselfers and pre-boiled buyers. Luckily, there are several local seafood markets that can accommodate both groups. (NOTE: Always call ahead to check on that day’s availability.) Here are a few:
2504 W. Church Street, Hammond
Berry Town Produce
2600 W Church Street, Hammond
1795 S Morrison Boulevard, Hammond
54013 Highway 1062, Loranger
It’s generally recommended that you buy 4-5 pounds of crawfish per adult, though you can adjust this number to accommodate the appetites of your burly vs. dainty eaters. Whether you’re boiling or purchasing pre-boiled crawfish, be sure to stock up on newspapers to spread on the table, plastic crawfish trays, plenty of paper towels, cold beverages, and a giant lined trash can for easy disposal of the smelly shells and corn cobs.
For the boil-it-yourselfers, here is a recipe from the master, Chef John Folse. Bon appetit!
John Folse’s Crawfish Boil Recipe
- 35 pounds live washed crawfish water
- 1 (4.5-pound) bag Louisiana Fish Fry® Products Crawfish, Crab and Shrimp Boil
- 12 medium onions, quartered
- 6 heads garlic, split in half, exposing pods
- 1 dozen lemons, quartered
- 1 bunch celery, chopped
- 2 cups granulated garlic
- 8 ounces celery salt
- 1 (8-ounce) bottle Louisiana hot sauce
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 (12-ounce) bottles Abita® Amber beer
- 24 medium red potatoes
- 6 whole artichokes
- 3 pounds smoked sausage
- 12 ears of corn
- 1 (5-pound) bag ice
Note: Live crawfish may be purchased already washed from your seafood supplier. However, a second rinsing in cold water will not hurt. The purging of crawfish, that is, washing the crawfish in cold salted water, has been found to be useless other than to place the animal under unnecessary stress. So forget the purging–rinsing in cold water will suffice.
Measure the water by placing live crawfish in a cooking strainer fitted for the crawfish boiling pot. Place strainer with crawfish inside the pot and fill with water to cover crawfish by approximately 6 inches. Visually mark this volume because this indicates how much water will be needed to boil the crawfish. Remove the strainer, set crawfish aside and refill the pot with clean water to the same level. Bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add onions, garlic cloves, lemons, celery, granulated garlic, celery salt, Louisiana Fish Fry® seasoning, Louisiana hot sauce, vegetable oil and beer. Allow mixture to boil for 30 minutes. This boiling of the seasonings will ensure a great flavor. Add potatoes, artichokes and sausage, return to a rolling boil and cook 10–12 minutes. Add corn and cook 10 additional minutes. Add crawfish and return water to a rolling boil. Stir gently and cook for 3½ minutes and then turn off heat. Stir gently 2–3 times then add ice. The ice will cool the water slightly and allow the crawfish to absorb seasoning. Let crawfish soak 25–30 minutes, testing occasionally for seasoning and doneness. Do not allow crawfish to overcook otherwise the tail meat may become mushy. Crawfish should be served hot with potatoes, artichokes, corn, and pitchers of ice-cold beer.