CRAWFISH BOIL The peak season for crawfish is March-June. Chef Michael Smith suggests serving it with corn, potatoes, andouille sausage and beer. (Photo: Photo courtesy of the Junior League of Houston)
From Stop and Smell the Rosemary
1 bottle ice-cold beer
5 pounds fresh crawfish
1¼ cups salt, plus more as needed
8 lemons, quartered
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 onions, quartered
4 heads garlic
6 bay leaves
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bags crab boil
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
8 small red potatoes
3 ears corn, cut into thirds
Pop the beer and have a drink to prepare for some fun. Cover crawfish with cold water and add salt. Purge 10 minutes, drain and rinse. Add more water and salt to crawfish, rinse and drain, until water is no longer muddy.
Place 4 to 5 quarts cold water in a large soup pot. Add lemons, celery, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, crab boil and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes. Boil 7 minutes. Add corn. Boil 3 minutes. Add crawfish and enough water to cover. Return to a boil. Cook 4 to 6 minutes depending on size of crawfish. (Crawfish will turn bright red when done.) Drain. Discard bay leaves, thyme and crab boil bags.
Pour crawfish and vegetables onto a table that has been covered with plastic and newspaper. Serve immediately. Have several rolls of paper towels handy, and be sure to try the onions and garlic! Serves 4.