The Crawfish Boil- A Louisiana Springtime Ritual

Mudbugs, crawfish, crawdaddys.. whatever you call the little suckers, anyone who has spent time in Louisiana has inevitably come across these crustaceans in famous dishes like Crawfish Monica, Crawfish Etouffee, or at it’s most elemental, at a Crawfish Boil.

I went to my first boil while living in New Orleans and fell instantly in love with not only the strange shellfish, but the ceremony surrounding the boil. A crawfish boil is one of those food-centered gatherings that ends up not really being just about the food. Like ignoring the turkey on Thanksgiving in favor of football and sides, a crawfish boil is about laughing and drinking and prepping and stirring and peeling together. A messy, spicy, inebriated group of people getting together and making food.

So even when living in L.A., the farthest city in both spirit and looks from the swamps of southern Louisiana, we find a way to have a boil.
Luckily for me, I’m friends with a very enthusiastic deep South transplant here in LA who ordered a whooping 60 pound of crawfish for us to feast on.

Along with andouille sausage, corn, heaps of potatoes, mushrooms, lemons, artichokes, onion, loads of garlic, and numerous bags of Zatarain’s, we plunged the live crawfish into the pot.

After the crawfish are cooked, they’re dumped out on a communal, newspaper-covered table where everyone gathers around to peel, eat, and for the very dedicated, suck the heads. More on that here.

Turns out 60 pounds of mudbugs is too much for our humble stomachs to handle, but over a couple of Bloody Marys (with pickled okra, yum!), we managed to peel the entire batch.

The fruit our labor:

I can’t wait to use up the leftovers and have already started scouring recipes for a dish worthy of our hard-earned crawfish meat.
I’m thinking Etouffee, bisque, or Monica will be just the thing to cure my mid-week blues.

Even if I can’t still live in the coolest city in America, on a Sunday afternoon like this, I can at least pretend I do.