Thursday, August 06, 2009

J'adore les écrevisses

One of my fondest travellin' memories took place back in 1999 in the city of New Orleans ...

It was the night before I was scheduled to leave town, and I was just dying to stuff myself with some good boiled crawfish. I also wanted to find a place in which I could watch Game Three of the American League Championship Series. After strollin' through the French Quarter for an hour lookin' for the perfect spot in which to eat crawfish and cheer for my beloved Red Sox, I settled on the French Market Restaurant & Bar.

The French Market Restaurant & Bar didn't look like much of a place, but it had three things going for it when I sat down to order: $2 draft Abitas, a $15crawfish "buffet"; and a half-dozen patrons clad in Red Sox regalia. "This is it!" ... that's exactly what I said to myself when I decided that the French Market Restaurant was, well, it.

To make a long story short, the Red Sox won the game I was dying to see -- which proved to be the last game the Red Sox won in 1999; I drank enough draft Abitas to get me a "free" French Market Restaurant & Bar pint glass; and I ate so much boiled crawfish my fingers were still stinkin', from all the peelin' and eatin', when I was flying home (with that pint glass resting in my lap, wrapped in several layers of newspaper).

For the longest time, I satiated my crawfish-cravings by purchasing live crawfish at the Nashville Farmer's Market and boiling the hell out of 'em ... or doing the all-you-can-eat-crawfish thing at Florida Seafood Kitchen. Well, you can't get live crawfish at the Farmer's Market no more, and the Florida Seafood Kitchen was forced to close (seems the folks who owned it had a hard time mailing tax checks to the proper authorities).

To make another long story short, I ordered some live crawfish from an outfit in Louisiana and cooked 'em tonight. To wit:

Here's how I did it ...

Joltin' Django's Boiled Crawfish


6 ears yellow corn, snapped in half
15 red potatoes, cut in half
2 lemons, quartered
1 large white onion, quartered
2 8-ounce cans Zatarain's® Creole Seasoning
5 lbs live crawfish


Fill a 14" stock pot with water 'til it's a little more than half-full (plus another pint for good luck). Add corn, potatoes, lemons, onions, and cans o' seasoning and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Throw in the crawfish and cook 'em 'til they're red, 10-12 minutes.

Have on hand lots o' fresh butter for the potatoes and corn, and put out a big bottle of Tabasco® for seasoning the crawfish.


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