Lemongrass and garlic, meet Old Bay and crawfish. Thanks to Houston’s migrant populations from Vietnam and Louisiana we have the Viet-Cajun boil, fresh mudbugs tossed with butter, garlic, chilies, Southeast Asian aromatics, and oh, did we mention garlic? So spread out the paper towels, pass around a few crisp beers, and kill an afternoon digging into this Bayou City feast.
2 1/2 gal. water
1 1/2 cups Old Bay Seasoning or Zatarain's Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 lemongrass stalks, smashed
2 lemons, halved
2 heads garlic, halved horizontally
3/4 cup kosher salt, divided
2 pounds small red potatoes
6 pounds live crawfish, cleaned
3 ears fresh corn, halved
2 cups (1 lb.) unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons very finely chopped lemongrass
1/2 cup chopped garlic (from 16 cloves or 1 large head)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cayenne
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 bunch cilantro sprigs
How to Make It
Prepare the crawfish boil: Place water, Old Bay, fish sauce, lemongrass, lemons, garlic, and ¼ cup of the salt in a large stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Add potatoes, and cook until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup salt. Increase heat to high, and bring to a rolling boil. Add crawfish and corn; boil until crawfish are bright red, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.
Prepare the butter sauce: Heat ¼ cup butter in a stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat until foamy. Add lemongrass; sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until very soft, stirring very frequently. Add remaining butter, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Cook until butter is melted and garlic is just softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Cover to keep warm.
Drain crawfish mixture. Discard garlic, lemons, and lemongrass. Place crawfish, corn, and potatoes in a huge bowl. Toss with half of the butter sauce and cilantro; serve with remaining sauce.