I like living in Mississippi. It’s no San Diego or Hawaii, but it’s also a far cry from Oklahoma, and that is something I can get behind.
A couple weeks ago, we had a big ol’ crawfish boil, which I believe officially deemed us honorary Southerners. When in Mississippi!
It started out innocently enough.
The only other time I have had whole crawdads was on Tybee Island, Georgia, where we went to The Crab Shack and got a big seafood boil. It was my first crawfish experience, and I was a little unimpressed. Probably because they were in a bucket surrounded by a plethora of huge shrimp, juicy mussels, stone crab claws and king crab legs.
King crab legs > crawdads. It’s just science.
However, that doesn’t mean that crawfish are bad. They’re just a lot of work.
We felt that to be fully immersed in Southern culture, it was essential that we give crawfish another try.
We planned to get a small batch of crawdads, a few potatoes, and corn, and boil them all up in Nick’s big brew pot.
Well, when we got to the seafood place (and by seafood place I mean the sketchy stand inside a gas station– no lie, welcome to Mississippi), we ordered 15 lbs of crawfish (15 lbs sounds like a lot, and it is a lot, but most of it is shell). To our slight dismay, the smallest batch they would sell us was 30 lbs. Thirty pounds is a lot no matter how much shell there is. But the boys already had their hearts set on a crawfish boil, so off we went, with 30 lbs of the little critters.
Luckily we found 7 friends to help us eat the crawfish, but even 9 people couldn’t come close to finishing 30 lbs.
There were races, of course.
These things are even dumber than lobsters, though, so it didn’t work out too well. They went backwards, sideways, round and round in circles. Pretty much any way but straight.
My thoughts on the boil? It was a fun experience! Everyone had fun digging in with their hands and making a giant mess. But… I still think it’s too much work for not enough meat!
After we were stuffed, we all poured ourselves a drink, and got to work shelling the leftovers. Into the freezer they went, and a couple weeks later they were brought back out for meal #2.
Crawfish Etouffee. The yumminess of crawfish, without all the work! Now, this is what I’m talkin’ ’bout.
(adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp dry sherry
- 1 1/2 cups shrimp stock or water
- 1 pound crawfish tails
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Cooked rice, for serving
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, to make a light roux. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5-8 minutes.
Add the sherry and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water (or stock) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the crawfish tails, and continue simmering another 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir in the parsley, and remove from the heat.
Adjust the seasoning, to taste (I added extra cayenne because I like it hot!). Serve over rice.
We served the etouffee over rice and fried catfish (embracing the South, again). This meal was OMG-amazing. And that’s pretty amazing, let me tell you. This meal made me quit my Bahamas diet. If fried catfish and crawfish etouffee is wrong, I just don’t want to be right.
Speaking of the Bahamas… I promise a recap soon!