Tis’ the season for the long standing family tradition of boiling and eating crawfish in Louisiana. As I walk through my neighborhood on the weekends, the aroma of spicy boiled crawfish tickles my nose as families and friends gather in back yards and porches for a crawfish boil.
Here is our family recipe for boiled crawfish.
For as many chefs that exist in Louisiana, there are an equal number of recipes and techniques for boiling crawfish. Most of the conversation at a crawfish boil is focused on everyone sharing their personal tips and unsolicited advice on how to make the best crawdads and what to add to the boil. In south Louisiana crawfish boils have become more creative and there are no limits when it comes to adding sweet and savory edibles other than the traditional corn and new potatoes. I have eaten spicy mushrooms, artichokes, brussel sprouts, sausage, and pineapple all cooked and soaked in the spicy crawfish boil brew.
Another one of my favorite crawfish recipes is for crawfish pies.
This recipe originated with one of our famous local New Orleans chefs, Frank Davis, with a few modifications by me to suit my taste. You can buy small frozen mini pie shells to fill with the crawfish pie mixture. This makes it easy to prepare this for a meal in less than 30 minutes if you are using peeled crawfish tails.
Mild temperatures across south Louisiana in October, November, and December helped crawfish to grow quickly on regional crawfish farms. The vast majority of crawfish consumed in Louisiana are pond-raised, and hatchlings first emerge in mid-fall.
Before farm raising took off about 50 years ago, crawfish were harvested in the wild from the Atchafalaya Basin over a shorter period that spanned late spring to early summer. Pond raising has extended the crawfish season to run roughly from January to June. That certainly brings a smile to the faces of most folks from Louisiana!
Crawfish bread is always at the top of the list in my family during festival season. This is a great way to use your leftover crawfish tails. Grab a loaf of french bread, and combine the tails and spices in your food processor. Spread the crawfish mixture on the bread and heat briefly. Voila, instant appetizer for your next crawfish boil!
Finally, here is an easy-to-make crawfish salad ( you could also substitute shrimp) that can be served for lunch or dinner. It is colorful and loaded with flavor. I like to add olives, tomatoes, fresh basil and spinach, cukes, hard-boiled egg halves, and top it all with crunchy microgreens or sprouts. I combine the ingredients with a Creole mustard vinaigrette to give it an extra kick.
In Louisiana, we celebrate just about every crop harvested, every indigenous dish, and every type of music from Cajun and Zydeco to Delta blues, and New Orleans jazz.
Celebrate springtime and celebrate Louisiana foods with these tasty crawfish recipes!