Crawfish or Shrimp Boil, Louisiana Style
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes, plus time to cool
It’s traditional to serve the seafood (and vegetables; see the variation) in the center of a newspaper-covered table with some French bread and a bowl of the cooking water—which will taste pretty good after having all this cooked in it—handy for dipping.
About 6 quarts water, fish stock, or shrimp stock
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme or several sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
4 small dried hot red chiles
4 pounds whole crawfish or shrimp
Tabasco or other hot red pepper sauce for serving
Lemon wedges for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic mayonnaise, or tartar sauce for dipping, optional
1. Bring the liquid to a boil in a medium to large saucepan and add the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, garlic, coriander, cloves, chiles, and plenty of salt. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add the crawfish or shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the seafood cool down for a few minutes in the liquid.
3. Remove the crawfish or shrimp with a slotted spoon, sprinkle with more salt, and serve, passing hot sauce, lemon wedges, black pepper, and sauce at the table.
Crawfish or Shrimp Boil with Vegetables. More of a meal: In Step 1, add 11/2pounds waxy potatoes and 1 pound onions (all cut into large chunks if they’re big- ger than eggs). Boil with the seasonings until just beginning to get tender, about 10 minutes. When you add the seafood in Step 2, add 4 to 6 ears of shucked corn (cut in half if you like). Proceed with the recipe.