Shrimp and Crawfish Boils
January 01, 2015 at 8:07pm
ragin_cajuns - I have never seen, nor heard of, anyone adding the seasoning to a boil after the food was cooked. Shortly after moving NOLA I learned to boil shrimp and crawfish from an old catering family that worked in NOLA for a couple of generations. They always seasoned the water first. No mix. They just added vegetables and spices. The idea was to make a flavored both for the cooking.
I have often seen and eaten crawfish that were additionally seasoned after they came out of seasoned boil. I personally really do not like this (IMO). I want the seasoning in the meat, not on the outside just to add spice to my lips and mouth. Real deep flavor counts for more!
JOHN C - I absolutely agree about using seasoning mixes from local seafood shops. That is what I still do, even if I have to mail order them. I used to live in Metairie for a while too. Living where you do, spend about 15 minutes to drive out to Kenner and stop at Fisherman's Cove on Williams Blvd. They sell bags of their house seasoning mix. I order bags of this stuff at a time, and then vacuum-pack it and store in the freezer. I always get rave reviews.
Here is what I do - Add 2 or 3 of onions (quartered), a few quartered lemons, and couple of mashed garlic cloves. Sometimes a little white wine for shrimp (not for the bugs). Cook the veggies and lemons, at a boil, until you see the insides of the lemons start to break down. Then add the dry seasoning mix. Boil for another 5 - 10 minutes. Now add you seafood. Crabs and crawfish can be simmered for a few minutes, then remove the pan from the heat to let them finish cooking. Shrimp need very little time to cook. I turn off the fire almost as soon as the shrimp hit the water. Let them soak until the shells just start to separate from the meat, then remove to an ice bath. Serve these shrimp warm.
I also have a completely different, less spicy and seasoned, recipe for basic chilled peel and eat shrimp.
I do agree that a quick ice water brine with; water, ice and salt give the shrimp a firmer texture. But only brine them for 30 - 60 minutes.