Or, as we always called it, just "Zatarain's" (pronounced ZAT-uh-rans), after the most popular local brand of crab boil. It's a packet of spices that you just throw into the water in which you boil your seafood, and makes it spicy-yummy-wonderful. Just make sure you don't get it near your face and inhale, or you'll be sneezing uncontrollably for several minutes!
It's now widely available in the United States, but not elsewhere in the world. If you live in an area where it's not available, make your own, and have Louisiana-style boiled shrimp, crabs or crawfish anytime. Works well with any kind of shellfish (I'd love to try boiling langoustines in this elixir sometime!).
Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly. Place in a square of muslin or cheesecloth and tie securely with string, like a large sachet d'épices. Add salt and cayenne or hot sauce to the water to taste, then bring to a boil.
- 4 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
- 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole allspice
- 2 tablespoons dill seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 8 bay leaves
- Salt and cayenne pepper (or liquid hot sauce) to taste
When water for seafood is boiling, add the bag and boil for several minutes, until the boiling liquid is tinted and seasoned, then add vegetables and/or shellfish and cook until done, depending on what you're using.
Yield: Enough crab boil seasoning for 5 pounds of seafood.
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)