One of the many great things about New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) is the excessive amount of local seafood.
Variety, freshness, and cheap prices are just a few of the perks of being a seafood lover in this fantastic city.
My favorites include- catfish, oysters, soft-shell crabs, shrimp, and most of all CRAWFISH aka mudbugs or crawdads.
Louisiana harvest almost all of the freshwater creatures for the U.S. and the state itself consumes well over half the bulk.
Us locals prefer them boiled live and spicy!
At any given crawfish boil you will find a wire basket placed inside a BIG stainless steel pot securely placed on top of a propane tank as well as stacks of newspapers and a cooler full of Abita beer, preferably Purple Haze or Amber.
In the pot- salted water, lemon, garlic, mushrooms, corn on the cob, new potatoes, onion, cayenne pepper, smoked andouille sausage, and last but not least pounds and pounds of live crawfish.
The little guys only take about 5 minutes to cook, but I highly suggest letting them soak for a good 20 minutes afterwards in order to gain maximum flavor. While they’re soaking feel free to set the table with layers of newspaper, as no plates or silverware are allowed. Empty the contents onto the papered table and the let the feast begin!!
Any leftovers make for a fine gumbo, savory crawfish pie, or my dad’s famous crawfish fettuccine alfredo. Recipes to come!
Don’t have the time to boil them yourself? Not a problem. There are countless seafood markets selling hot boiled crawfish throughout the spring and summer for a measly $2.69 a pound. And if crawfish isn’t your thing (shame on you!) no need to worry as most of these markets sell other delicacies such as stuffed soft-shell crabs, boiled shrimp, and one of my all time favorites-stuffed artichokes. Just grab yourself a Barq’s in a bottle and you’re good to go!
To my NY friends- there is a Crawfish Festival every June in New Jersey. I went in 2006, definitely worth seeing a bunch of Yankees dancing to Zydeco music and trying to get down on some crawfish. http://www.crawfishfest.com/
One more thing! A Louisiana potato chip company, Zapps, make a Cajun Crawtator flavor that comes in a red bag. I never make a visit home without inhaling a few of these. Their Cajun Dill is also worth mentioning… Enjoy! http://www.zapps.com/
You can keep your boring lobster drenched in butter, and i’ll happily eat my spicy mudbugs any day of the week!