Crawfish and Crab Boil
I am sharing with you today two versions of this classic dish, one being the traditional way to make a crab boil, and the other being the way someone currently residing in the desert is forced to make a crab boil. That being said, I obviously have an extremely difficult time coming across fresh seafood, if ever, so I made some adjustments for this quick version of a traditional Louisiana crab boil.
1/4 cup crab boil seasoning (recommended: powdered mix, not liquid)
2 pounds crab legs (fully cooked)
1 pound crawfish (fully cooked)
2 lemons, halved
4 garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise
1 pound new potatoes
3 ears fresh corn shucked, silk removed and cut in half
1/2 pound smoked sausage (andouille)
In a large pot filled with water, combine the crab boil, lemons, onions and garlic and heat over high heat, stirring until the powdered seasoning has dissolved. Add the potatoes, corn and smoked sausage. (Everything should be submerged in liquid – if not, add more water to cover.) Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Cook at a rolling boil for about 7 minutes then turn down to low heat allowing the potatoes and corn to fully cook. Now, the crab legs and crawfish that I am using are already fully cooked ( I know, but fully cooked, previously frozen seafood is better than no seafood) so wait until the last 5 minutes of cooking to add them, just so they warm through making sure not to overcook them.
Using tongs or strainers, carefully remove the crab legs from the pot along with the crawfish, garlic, onions, potatoes and sausage and spread out on large platters or on newspaper lined tables for everyone to help themselves.
Now, on to the second, more complex crab boil. The only reason I say it is more complex is because when dealing with fresh seafood, there are always extra precautionary measures needed during preparation time. The ingredients are also slightly different given that fresh seafood availability varies according to region; you can really put any kind of seafood in a boil like this so adjust the ingredients to your taste.
1 Dungeness Crab
1 Stone Crab
2 Queen Crab claws
2 Snow Crab Claws
2 King or Alaskan claws
1/2 dozen live Blue Crabs
3 pounds live Louisiana Crawfish
1 (26-ounce) box salt, for purging the crawfish
1/2 pound crab boil seasoning
4 lemons, cut in half
Small onions, peeled
Smoked Sausage, cut into large pieces
Small red or new potatoes
5 ears of fresh corn on the cob, shucked and broken in halves
3 heads of garlic, cut in half exposing pods
First, the cardinal rule is to purge and thoroughly wash the crawfish before boiling them. Pour your live crawfish in a plastic tub or ice chest and pour the box salt over the top of the crawfish. Add water just to cover the crawfish. Gently stir for 3 minutes just to mix the salt and the water, then rinse the crawfish. Some people skip adding salt, but it is just an extra measure to make sure your crawfish are clean and pleasant to eat. Be careful not to let them purge too long. You do not want the crawfish to be dead when you add them to the boil. Throw away any crawfish that have already died; the dead crawfish should float to the top. After purging and cleaning, remove the crawfish from the water, as they need air to stay alive. Keep them in a cool area until you are ready to start your boil.
In an extra-large pot over high heat, add enough water to fill more than halfway. Squeeze the juice of the lemons into the pot and throw the lemon halves into the water. Add the crab boil seasoning, cover pot and bring water to a boil allowing the spices to dissolve. Add onions, corn, sausage and potatoes; maintain a boil and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add crawfish to the pot and boil again for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, keeping the pot covered, and let the crawfish soak for about 20-30 minutes.
Remove the contents from the pot and allow them to drain. Spill the contents out onto a newspaper lined table and enjoy while hot!
For both versions of this meal, I spoon out some of the remaining cooking liquid (the water infused with crab seasoning) and add butter to make a dipping sauce for the contents of the boil; I also serve plain drawn butter on the side for those who prefer that. For another great sauce option, I mix ketchup, horseradish and tabasco with a squeeze of fresh lemon; my version of a Louisiana cocktail sauce.
xoxo The Refined Palate
© 2011 Xristina Miros