Monday, April 21, 2014

The Crawfish Boil

Do you call them Crawfish, Mud Bugs, or Crayfish?  All the same thing just depends, I guess, on where you are from.

Raw (live) crawfish pre-boil.
Photo courtesy of Deni Lynn Hall.
I remember my Dad pulling a few Crayfish out of Wolverine Creek when we'd go camping up there when I was a kid.  They were considerably bigger, at least in my memory, than those we had last night but they weren't something we ever ate.  I think I was aware that you could eat them, but we didn't.  I just played with them and brought a few home in a bucket of water to try to make into pets.  Poor tortured creatures...

This is how we spent Easter this year!!  Last night was my first boil.  Hard to believe I made it so far through life with virgin taste buds, huh?  It was really quite yummy!!  And I'm excited to do it again!

Photo courtesy of Deni Lynn Hall.
Using big pots that sit over a propane-fueled flame (think turkey fryer only twice as big - at least twice the size of ours) you mix up some peppery crab boil with water, beer or some combination of those liquids.  The brand name on the boil was Zatarain's.  Old Bay is another.  (And if I understand it all, Old Bay is more what you'd find in Maryland and Virginia and the more northern part of the coastal region while Zatarain's is a spicier New Orleans style boil.  Both are good, in my estimation, but the spices are a little bit different.)

Ready to peel and eat!
Photo courtesy of Dana Reynolds.
To your boiling liquid you add a few pounds of Crawfish, stir them around with a long wooden paddle, and let them cook.  Then they are skimmed out and left to cool until you can handle them.  You eat them by twisting the head off, and sucking the juice out of it, and then you peel back the first ring on the tail and devein it and using your lips and teeth pull the meat out.  They are delicious!!  But it's a lot of work for only a little reward...

Once the Crawfish are cooked, you do the vegetables, sausages and hot dogs.  We had a combination of whole red potatoes, corn cobettes, artichokes, carrot chunks, brussel sprouts, cabbage wedges, giant button mushrooms, and whole pineapples.  The pineapples were the biggest surprise to me!  And an insanely yummy item to include!!  They came out soft, sweet and tangy with just the occasional hint of saltiness and spice.  It was so unusual and unexpected and acted almost as a palate cleanser when the spice overwhelmed you from the other foods and you needed to cool your mouth down enough to feel your lips again.

Getting the veggies ready to cook.
Photo courtesy of Deni Lynn Hall.
We also had some raw veggies and bread and things like that to nibble and several different cakes and cookies for dessert.  And there was dancing and singing along to the music and games to be played and lots of talk around the firepit once it started to get dark.
Our host's backyard firepit... The big metal bowl
features fleur de lis cut outs.  This family are all BIG Saints fans!
One made this way is on my wish list for our someday backyard!
Photo courtesy of Deni Lynn Hall.

It was really a wonderful evening!

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