When you’re talking about barbecue, oysters, a grouper sandwich or just about any other food, you’ll be sure to get an array of varying opinions over which region is the best, with individuals going to great lengths to defend their turf. To say these debates can become impassioned is an understatement.
But when It comes to the crawfish boil, there seems to be one region with a patent on bragging rights. Southern Louisiana always seems to rise to the top of any conversation, silencing the competition as quickly as these pint-sized crustaceans go from pot to plate.
Just as the French have a corner on the croissant market, one could argue that no one does crawfish better than true Cajuns, the French-Canadian people who settled in the Louisiana swamplands in the 18th century. Troy Landry of The History Channel’s Swamp People is the patriarch of one such family that has been living in and off of the swamps for generations. Troy and his son, Jacob, happen to be experts in the time-honored art of the crawfish boil, and in this Mercury Cook Your Catch video, they’ll show you how a true Cajun prepares a boiled crawfish spread for a family get together.
We’ll let Troy and Jacob tell you all about the finer points of preparation, but here are a few key things to bear in mind:
- You must start with live crawfish, so remove any dead ones prior to cooking as those carry a risk of food-borne illness. When serving or eating boiled crawfish, discard any with straight tails because, more than likely, those were dead prior to cooking.
- It’s also important to purge your crawfish before cooking. That is, let the crawfish soak in fresh water for a minimum of a half hour to remove any impurities from both the inside and out. For a true restaurant-quality crawfish, it’s best to purge them for 24 hours.
- It’s up to you what sides to add to your boil, but popular choices include andouille sausage (a Cajun favorite), corn on the cob, potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Likewise, when it comes to spices and hot sauce, cayenne pepper and Louisiana hot sauces are as essential as the water the crawfish are boiled in. You can also put your own spin on things by adding some of your favorite seasonings.
- When it comes to the best way to cook crawfish, you have options. While the Landrys use a large, square stainless-steel pot over a natural gas flame, you can also use a large pot on a propane burner, or even a large stock pot on your kitchen stove.
- You only need to boil the crawfish for two or three minutes. You’ll then want to turn off the and let your crawfish sit in the pot for a minimum of 30 minutes – with constant gentle stirring – to allow the crawfish to soak up the juices and spices. When the crawfish have all sunk to the bottom of the pot, they’re ready to be pulled out of the water.
- Be careful not to oversalt. Good boiled crawfish will only need a bit of salt. The last thing you want to do is overshadow the natural sweetness of the meat.
- When you pull the crawfish and sides out of the pot, combine it all into an ice chest with a liberal dose of more hot sauce and close the lid. After it’s cooled in the ice chest for 15-20 minutes, it’s ready to serve.
Most importantly, be sure to share and enjoy with a large group of friends and family. After all, the fellowship and camaraderie of an authentic crawfish boil are just as essential as the main dish itself. Enjoy!
For more Mercury Cook Your Catch recipes and videos, click here.
To learn more about Swamp People and the Landry family visit: https://www.instagram.com/swamppeople/