This is a post one year in the making. Last year, I did not get to the Crawfish Festival until 4 in the afternoon and found they had sold out of crawfish. To avoid the same outcome, I got there during the first hour of the festival last Saturday and found hot, steamed crawfish waiting to be consumed.
I talked with the head chef, Cisco, from southeastern Louisiana, who explained the difference of his crawfish from those cooked in southwestern Louisiana. He uses liquid seasonings which are not as hot and spicy on the mouth as the powder used in southwestern Louisiana. Liquid seasoning lets you taste the flavor of the crawfish meat. Then, he leaned in and told me about adding ice just before pulling out the crawfish. The ice helps to infuse the flavoring into the crawfish.
From top left: Live, fresh crawfish being dumped into a large steamer, Chef Cisco stirring in ice as the final step before serving, Cisco waiting for a batch of steamed crawfish to drain and a volunteer depositing steamed crawfish on to a cooling bin before being served to the hungry festival goers.
They served one and two pound crawfish dinners which included potatoes and corn on the cob. I found the crawfish to be delicious and succulent. I tried them dipped in cocktail sauce, melted butter and plain. I preferred them plain and, as Cisco promised, they were not too hot and spicy with a nice flavor.
This is the sixth year for the Crawfish Festival with proceeds from vendor fees, 50-50′s, donated gift baskets and Mardi Gras bead sales going to support Operation Southern Comfort in their efforts to help people and families still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. This year the festival will also be helping Operation Northern Comfort formed in response to Hurricane Sandy last fall. These organizations build new homes, buy furniture and repair homes and businesses which were damaged or destroyed during those powerful storms.