Gather under the huge family tarp, while the wind is blowing and Poticaw Bajou’s alligators are struggling to survive the most recent flood and rain: Wayne’s Icelandic girlfriend, his 85 years old mother, Joe, his wife and the kids, Honey the white speckled bull-terrier, two lined trash cans under a white painted board with two round holes of the size of the cans’ mouths, a 80 quarts pot of boiling water over an outdoor propane cooker, 50 pounds of crawfish, Tracy the cook and his old wooden stirring paddle, several coolers filled with ice, cans of pop, and light American beer… and there you have it…the “eating craw fish” in Mississippi. To the pot of boiling water, add “as much as it takes” McCormick-Zatarain’s orange seafood boil spice mix, grapefruits juice and lemon halves, vinegar, pounds and pounds of freshly caught crawfish (crayfish).
In the spicy liquid let the creatures cook for 10 minutes; turn the heat off to allow the seafood to soak the flavors of the broth.
Bring the crawfish to a boil again. Drop pieces of freshly picked corn on the cob, butter-mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, jalapeno peppers and small red potatoes and cook until all vegetables are done. Stir as Tracy does with the long paddle and ladle out the food with a slotted spoon on the white table-board where friends and relatives are waiting to enjoy and cheer.
…and, as they say in this southern region: Laissez le bon temps roule! (Let the good time roll in!) or simply: Bon Appetit!
ABOUT AMERICAN CRAWFISH, ALSO CALLED CRAYFISH, MUDBUGS, CRAWDADDY, CREEKCRAB, YABBIES, OR FRESH WATER LOBSTER
Crawfish, also called crayfish, mudbugs, crawdaddy, creekcrab, or yabbies are small type of fresh water lobsters (Procambarus clarkii) which are at home especially throughout the swampy and marshy areas of the U.S. Southeast along the Gulf of Mexico where they have become a regional staple food. They live in mud, feed especially on snails, and are very intolerant of water pollution. In North America there are at least 300 varieties of crayfish; these range in color from cream, yellow, blue, red, to black. They are delicate in taste and should not overcooked. They are usually served either boiled or steamed. To eat them in crawfish boils, people snap the crawfish’s ridged tail or cut the tail shell in half vertically and pull out the meat from the tail. Famous regional specialties such as Gumbo and Jambalayas usually include crawfish.
WHERE TO EAT CRAWFISH, GUMBO AND FRESH SEAFOOD IN PASCAGOULA, MISSISSIPPI, IF WAYNE DOES NOT INVITE YOU:
OFF the HOOK Seafood & Cajun Grille’ (Lunch and Catering) – Open for lunch Monday through Friday (11:00 AM – 2:00 PM) and for dinner Thursdays and Fridays only 707 Krebs Avenue, Pascagoula, Mississippi; email:email@example.com – Tel. Bus. 228 762 9004 – Cell 228 218 5912
WHERE TO PURCHASE FRESH OR COOKED CRAWFISH AND OTHER SEAFOOD AND WHERE TO EAT IT ON THE GO
BOZO SEAFOOD MARKET, Fish, shrimp, seasonal boiled crawfish and crabs, 2012 Ingalls Avenue, Pascagoula, Mississippi; Tel. 228 762 3322 (Call ahead, it’ll be ready) – market hours: 8 – 8 (Sunday till 6 PM); Deli Seafood: 10:30 AM – 7 PM (Sunday till 5 PM).
RECIPE – CRAWFISH JAMBALAYA
Jambalaya generally includes ham, or a spicy pork sausage called Andouille, besides crawfish. The name of the dish derives from the French term used to describe ham (jambon) and has become a marker of Louisiana’s cuisine. It also includes rice. Classically there are two types of jambalaya: the red jambalaya with tomatoes and the brown jambalaya with the spicy Louisiana sausage and other meats (Ainbinder p.198-199). This recipe is a personal adaptation which includes both, sausage and crawfish.
1 smoked Louisiana andouille sausage (spicy), peeled, and sliced thin
1 Tbsp oil
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ fresh green bellpepper, trimmed, seeded, chopped
1 fresh rib of celery, trimmed, rinsed, chopped
1 small onion, trimmed, peeled, chopped (about 2 oz)
2 green onions, trimmed, rinsed, peeled if necessary, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, trimmed, peeled, minced
3 fresh pear shaped tomatoes, rinsed, chopped
1 lb crayfish tail meat
2 cups water
1 cup rice
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste (about ½ tsp)
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and add the sliced sausage. Sautee the sausage until brown and add the cayenne pepper, the bellpepper, the celery, the onion, the green onions, the garlic and the tomatoes, stir and saute until all ingredients are soft. Add the crayfish, the water, the salt, the pepper and the rice. Bring everything to a boil, lower the heat, stir, cover and simmer until the water has been absorbed by the rice and the rice is still firm to the bite. If necessary add a little water; the jambalaya should be moist. Fluff with a fork before serving.
MORE ABOUT PREPARING CRAWFISH?… COOK BOOKS:
GREAT CHEFS OF NEW ORLEANS II of I and II
Discover more delights of authentic New Orleans cuisine as revealed by the Great Chefs in their own famous restaurants – From the Great Chefs Television Series 1990 – A cookbook which includes recipes of specialties prepared with crawfish, such as Crawfish Beignets and Saute of Louisiana Crawfish.
The Junior League of New Orleans – The official cookbook of the Louisiana World Exposition published in 1983 by the Junior League of New Orleans Inc. – A spiral bound cookbook with recipes for hors d’ouvres, appetizers, soups and gumbos, salads, dressings, sauces, egg and cheese dishes, seafood, poultry, game and meat specialties as well as breads, cookies, and desserts. Includes directions on how prepare Crawfish Cardinale and Crawfish Etouffee.
COME ON IN
The Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi – This spiral bound cook book was published between 1991 and 1993 by the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi; PO Box 4709, Jackson, MS39296. As many Junior League cookbooks it includes the best of the local regional cuisine written down by members of the Junior League; included is also the recipe on how to prepare a Mississippi version of the classic Crawfish Cardinale, how to make soft-shell crawfish in praline sauce, and a more internationally updated dish such as crawfish fettuccine (Italian thin flat pasta), .
THE PRUDHOMME FAMILY COOKBOOK
Old Time Louisiana Recipes by the eleven Prudhomme brothers and sisters – Published by William Morrow and Company in 1987 – A hard cover cookbook with instructions on how to prepare typical specialties of Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen. The collection includes Crawfish Bisque, Crawfish Boudin, and Crawfish Boulettes.
THE PICAYUNE’S CREOLE COOK BOOK – The New Orleans Times-Picayune
The Picayune of New Orleans “hoping to preserve to future generations the many excellent and matchless recipes of New Orleans” pub;ished in 1900 a collection of regional Creole recipes which were updated in 1987 with a new collection which included more than 800 tested recipes typical of the region. The Times-Payune Publishing Company and Random House republished the cook book over and over from 1901 through the 21st century. This collection of classics includes Boiled Crawfish and Crawfish Baked a la Creole.