There’s something about eating fresh seafood and drinking beer that makes it feel like summer. This means my California summer has officially kicked off! California crawfish season runs from July through October. But I was able to find them sooner (does a happy dance).
My most memorable and painful experience eating crawfish was at Vegas’s Hot N Juicy about a decade ago. For some reason, my husband (then boyfriend) and I thought it was a good idea to order the highest level of spice. My lips were numb for about three hours. I had no feeling in my tongue either. Even though I thought I was going to die from the spice, I fell in love with the saucy way these tiny crustaceans were served.
Crawfish, or crayfish, are teeny tiny mud-dwelling crustaceans. Louisiana supplies over 95% of the country’s crawfish. Which makes total sense as some of the most popular crawfish dishes are étouffée and gumbo; two dishes served best in NOLA. Only the crawfish body is typically consumed. It’s a lot of work for little yield. But the sweet meat is worth the effort.
I would highly recommend rinsing your crawfish a few times before cooking. I’m lucky to have a market that sells live crawfish. But they’re muddy af. When you’re ready to cook, spray them with cold water until you can’t see mud on their underbellies anymore. You can even keep crawfish alive overnight. Store them in the fridge in a container with some damp paper towels beneath them and either lid ajar or holes on the lid. They need to breathe! I definitely recommend a lid of some sort because crawfish are escape artists. Last thing you want is for crawfish to run amok in your fridge.
So what if you can’t find fresh crawfish? Any shelled seafood will work! Shrimp, crab, lobster (ohhhh, lobster). The steps are exactly the same. The cook time might vary slightly but that’s it. That’s the beauty of seafood.
Butter Garlic Crawfish
- 2 pounds live crawfish
- 6-8 small potatoes
- 3-4 ears of corn, broken in halves
- 6-8 pieces of sausage - optional
- 1 onion, cut in half
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- Step 1 In a large pot, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of paprika, onion, and lemon to the water.
- Step 2 Turn heat to medium high heat for a steady boil.
- Step 3 Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes with lid closed.
- Step 4 Add corn and cook for 5 minutes with lid closed.
- Step 5 Finally add crawfish and cook for 10 minutes with lid closed.
- Step 6 In a small sauce pan, add butter over medium heat.
- Step 7 Once butter is all melted, turn to medium low heat and add garlic. Cook for 2-4 minutes until fragrant. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and additional paprika (optional) to taste. Turn off heat.
- Step 8 Drain the water from the crawfish pot. Return the crawfish, potatoes, and corn to the large pot. Add the butter garlic mixture and toss everything to coat.
- Step 9 Serve hot with lemon wedges.