by Sasha Dallman
The best part about a crayfish boil is eating with your hands and not using a plate!
I am not Cajun, Creole or even southern, but I feel like I am, at heart. I have always had an unusual love for the bayou region of the southeast.
Luckily for me, my boyfriend is from the south: Texas and Louisiana, both bayou country. I shared this love o’things bayou and he mentioned that he wanted to have a crayfish boil – so we did just that.
Crayfish boils are regular weekly events in bayou country, especially when the season hits (August through October).
We had our family crayfish boil early, to celebrate the unseasonably summer-like weather. Unlike an authentic crayfish boil, we did not dump our crayfish out over a banquet table. We did however, line our tables with newspaper and ate with our hands sans plates.
While visiting with family and friends over a mound of mudbugs -as they are called, my aunt shared a story about her first crayfish boil. She used to live in Houston, near the bayou. When she first moved there, she and her husband were invited to a formal crayfish dinner. They arrived at a beautiful, palatial estate, with manicured lawns and hedges alongside the bayou that butted up to the back of the property.
They walked into a beautifully decorated and designed formal dining room. The table was set with fine linens and crystal glasses. After some socializing the guests were seated. The gilded centerpieces were removed and replaced with huge, heaping silver trays of crayfish, shrimp, oysters, andouille, corn and potatoes!
My aunt had never seen anything like this in California -her native state. All at once everyone lunged for the crayfish. My aunt was having a surreal moment watching everyone grab and devour whilst in such luxurious surroundings.
I love when she shares this story. Because it instills in me the easy and happy nature of a crayfish boil.
My love of the south spill over to desserts. And as a pastry chef, I am always asked to make dessert. One of my most popular pies- at home and at work- is key lime. The unique flavor that only a key lime from Southern Florida can make is truly a memorable experience.
Bayou Crayfish Boil
10 lbs crayfish
2 lbs shrimp
2 links andouille sausage
6 ears of corn, cut into thirds
15-18 small red potatoes
10 cloves garlic
1/2 bottle Zataran’s crab boil liquid
8 oz Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning
Fill a 7 gallon stockpot with everything BUT the seafood and sausages, cover with water about 3/4 full. Cook until the potatoes are soft to a fork and the corn floats. Remove these items and arrange on a table- preferably a table covered with newspaper to be authentic.
Either grill the sausage or boil it in the pot with the seafood. The crayfish and the shrimp take minutes to cook, but be sure the water is boiling when you add them.
Remove the seafood and cut the sausage to more manageable pieces and arrange on the table.
Key Lime Pie
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of fresh key lime juice
4 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
2 cup graham crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
4 oz butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Mix crust ingredients together and press into 8″ pie dish. Whisk all key lime pie ingredients together. Pour filling into crust and bake for 40 minutes, turning at the 20-minute mark. Let the pie cool, chill it for a couple hours, and serve!