- 8 cups salt
- 12 gallons water
- 1 (40 to 45 pound) sack live crawfish
- 6 cups Creole Seafood Seasoning, recipe follows, or any Creole seasoning mix
- 2 cups cayenne pepper
- 2 cups whole black peppercorns
- 15 bay leaves
- 12 lemons, halved
- 12 heads garlic, peeled, each head halved
- 10 onions, peeled and quartered
- 3 pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed, skin on
- 12 ears corn, shucked and halved
- Creole Seafood Seasoning:
- 1/3 cup table salt
- 1/4 cup granulated or powdered garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/3 cup paprika
- 3 tablespoons granulated or powdered onion
Fill a washtub or ice chest with water and 2 cups of the salt, stir, and place the crawfish in the mix. As they swim around, the salt will cause them to purge themselves of impurities and cleanse their outer shells. (Let them purge for 30 to 40 minutes; they need to stay alive until you're ready to cook them.)
While that's happening, pour the 12 gallons of water into a 20-gallon pot. Add the remaining salt, the seasoning, cayenne pepper, black peppercorns, bay leaves, and lemons. Boil for 15 minutes. In a basket insert, place half the garlic, half the onions, and half the potatoes. Place the basket in the water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add half the corn and return the water to a boil.
Drain the crawfish from their purging water, add half of them to the basket, and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and let soak for 10 minutes. Pull out the basket, drain, and dump the basket's contents onto a newspaper-lined table. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Serve crawfish, corn, onions, and garlic to each person.
Note: You certainly can boil a small amount of crawfish in a smaller vessel, do it indoors, and serve it to a smaller gathering, but in New Orleans, this is for an outdoor bash.Creole Seafood Seasoning:
Yield: about 2 cups
Recipe courtesy of Ti Martin and Jamie Shannon, From Commander's Kitchen, Broadway Books 2000.