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Talking Mud Bugs

How to cook Crawfish for your own Crawfish Boil
Talkin Mudbugs
 
Springtime crawfish are always welcome around my kitchens. Crawfish season runs February through May. The major contributors to the “season” are price and size. Also with the heat June brings, those shells get hard and can be real tough on unseasoned fingers.
 
Crawfish, crayfish or mudbugs are available in general form from continent to continent. Louisiana produces 90% of the crawfish harvested in the world and 70% of that is consumed locally.
 
 When people say crawfish are a Southern food, they really are. No city is more famous for crawfish than New Orleans. Crawfish play a major roll in the Louisiana culture alongside the music, drinks, cuisine and the character of the people. This time of year, we have the opportunity to bring a little of that heritage to our own neighborhood. Once the big pot begins to boil, the rest of the culture seems to catch up quickly as the celebration of food and fun is underway. 
 
The bugs are used in classic dishes such as étouffée, gumbo and jambalaya. Don’t make a mistake and cook your crawfish for these dishes first. It all starts with the crawfish boil. The “pickins” are used for the classic dishes (more to come on that later). 
 
For the boil, the main characters are always accompanied by red new potatoes and corn on the cob. In addition to these main stays, you can really go big with whole mushrooms, garlic cloves, artichokes or even halved onions. 
 
If you are cooking for 2-4 people, you can do it the hard way and measure the cook times of the ingredients by adding them to one big pot in roughly 10 minute increments, starting with the potatoes which take the longest to cook. 
 
For better results, invite the neighborhood!
 
To prepare the feast, you will cooking all the ingredients one at a time going from longest cook time to shortest with the water and seasoning replenished in between each ingredient. 
 
My education of how to do this was in the Stokes, South Texas backyard. The hosts were originally from Louisiana as were the majority of the guest list. I asked if they would mind if I came early and hung out in the kitchen with the intention of learning all of their secrets. Like most true masters of their craft, teaching those who appreciate what they do is as rewarding as the reaction from the lucky ones who get to experience their finished product. 
 
There were three propane fueled boil pots busy working side by side. As the produce was finished in succession, it was transferred into ice chests which were insulated and held heat as well as they held cold. They were neatly filed in order under the table.  Once everything was cooked, it was then dumped on newspaper covered tables where people then piled up their plates!
 
As for the table set, the necessities are plastic bibs, paper towels, wet naps, utensils and clamshell hinged to go boxes. One side for the food and the other for the shells. Popular accompaniments are rémoulade, extra bowl of boil seasoning for those who always want more and lemon wedges.
 
How to prepare and cook the Mudbugs
 
Purge? – I recommend you do purge the bugs prior to cooking them. Purge really just means soaking them real good in cold, clean water prior to cooking them. When you purge crawfish, it washes the outside shells and helps them release some of the stuff from their insides. Some say you should add a good bit of salt to the water and some say not. I’ve done it both ways and both work just fine. If you choose to purge the crawfish well ahead of cooking time, skip the salt. It will hinder the mortality rate. Just fill a 5 gallon bucket or large basin 2/3rds of the way with cold water. Add in the bugs and give them a good stir to agitate them. Let them hang out for ten minutes, then rinse with fresh water. If you choose to use salt, add 2 tablespoons to each gallon of water. Stir, soak, rinse just like the other way, but cook them within an hour generally. If you come across a few dead ones, pull them and discard. Dead crawfish will be mushy and no one will want to eat them. “No straight tails”. Once cooked, the tails should all be curled in tight from a reaction hitting the hot water. If they are dead first, the tails will remain straight. Your guests will be able to identify them and discard if one or two get past you. 
 
Preparing the Pots – Now the guests have arrived, the music is loud, the drinks are mingling. It is quite the spectacle for onlookers to witness the pageantry of a master cooker and his boil pots. A composed rhythm of artistry, finesse and brutality choreographed to a dramatic tune. When it’s time to cook the crawfish, the boiling liquid needs to be intense. Impart maximum flavor during the short cook time. As you put this recipe together it should seem like too much lemon, too much garlic, too much seasoning and way too much cayenne. If you put too much of everything, you are off to a great start.
 
The Soak – When cooking crawfish you want them to be full of flavor. The soak is the way you get there. After simmering your boil liquid for about 20 minutes, you are ready. Fill your basket ¾ of the way with the little snappers. Submerge the basket into the liquid, cover the pot with the lid and keep the heat on high. When you first add the crawfish, the boil will stop and take a minute or two to get back up to temperature. Once back up to a full boil, keep going for two minutes and kill the heat. Keep the pot covered and let the bugs soak in the hot liquid for 12 minutes. This will increase the time the crawfish have with the liquid by roughly 4 times as opposed to boiling the whole way to doneness. They will also be more tender as a result. Once your 12 minute timer rings, pull your basket quickly and get them into their ice chest to keep hot. I always dust them with a couple more tablespoons of the boil seasoning at this time and then get that lid closed. 
 
Soaking is generally not a good method to cook vegetables, especially potatoes. This is another good reason to cook the items separately. 
 
Crawfish Boil Recipe
Scaled for a 6 gallon kettle. Adjust the recipe so the water equals half of the volume of your pot.
 
3 gallons + Water
3 cups + Boil Seasoning Powder. Zatarain’s or equivalent. Your crawfish supplier will often send theirs with your order. 
6 tablespoons + Cayenne Pepper
6 each + Lemons, juiced
6 tablespoons Kosher Salt
½ cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 cups Garlic Cloves
20 each Bay Leaves
 
Method:
  • Combine all ingredients in a 6 gallon pot. Turn jet burner to high and stir occasionally with a long paddle.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Keep the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes to marry flavors.
  • Cook the veggies in this order: 
  • Potatoes 
  • Artichokes, onion and garlic
  • Corn and mushrooms
**As each veggie is finished, place in the coolers to keep warm.  Make another batch of seasoned water and add the next veggie  
 
Once all the veggies are finished and stored in their coolers, make one last batch of the water for the Crawfish
 
  • Fill the basket ¾ with live, PURGED crawfish. Slowly submerge into the pot avoiding overflow or steam burns
  • Return the heat to high until the liquid boils. Boil two minutes and then shut off the fire. Allow to soak 12 minutes (THE SOAK)
  • Carefully remove the basket from the liquid and allow draining. Dump the crawfish into an ice chest, dust with 2 additional tablespoons of seasoning, close the lid 
  • In between batches it is important to return seasoning to the boil. After each batch, top off the water back to half full. Add in ½ cup boil seasoning, 2 tablespoons cayenne and squeeze another lemon. 
  • If you would like some batches of crawfish to be spicier than others, simply increase the seasoning and cayenne for the last couple few baskets.
  • Get the liquid back up to cooking temperature and repeat the steps until all of the crawfish have been cooked. 
 
Depending on your company, I’d recommend you buy 3-5 pounds of crawfish per person. Up to 7 pounds for someone who knows better and 2 pounds for a newcomer. Once everyone has had their fill, the pickin party needs to happen. Then, they can be excused to crank the zydeco and get back to their libations. It is not rude for you to require your guests to pick the tail meat from the remaining mudbugs. Along with brown roux and the holy trinity, the leftover tails will become the foundation for the most awesome dishes listed above. Perhaps those stories another day.
 
Joey Pesner
Executive Chef, Homestead and Zermatt Resorts
 
For the freshest, direct delivered to your door crawfish, visit Louisiana Crawfish Company at www.lacrawfish.com
  
  

Crater Springs Golf Course, Celebrates 25 Years

Crater Springs Golf Course at Homestead Resort

Celebrates 25th Anniversary

 

April 7, 2014 – MIDWAY, UT – Crater Springs Golf Course at Homestead Resort, in Midway Utah, celebrates 25 years and opens this season on April 14.

“Crater Springs is the onsite golf course of the full-service Homestead Resort,” said Chris Briscoe, director of golf, Crater Springs Golf Course. “It is also conveniently located near Zermatt Resort, Fanny’s Grill, Sandwich Trap, Simon’s Restaurant and over 50,000 sq. ft. of conference space.”

Crater Springs is the only golf course in northern Utah with an on-cart GPS system that includes hole and green overview, electronic scoring and a live leader board feature.

“These amenities, along with the professional service of the course and resort staff, make it and Homestead Resort a favorite among group and corporate guests,” said Briscoe. “Over the years, Crater Springs has set the bar for corporate golf outings in Utah by hosting 150 per year.”

Crater Springs if offering monthly specials from April to October, as well as a “Golf and Dine” package all season. The “Golf and Dine” package is $59 and includes 18 holes of golf with a cart and $30 credit for Simon’s Restaurant for dinner. Throughout April, the course is running a $25 golf special, which includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, seven days a week.

“With the course located on resort property and near residential neighborhoods, it is perfect for casual golfers or for hosting corporate group meetings and golf outings in Utah” said Briscoe.

Both Homestead and Zermatt Resorts are offering two golf packages to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Crater Springs from April 15 to June 30. The ‘25th Anniversary Golf Package’ includes overnight accommodations, plus two rounds of golf at Crater Springs Golf Course. Rates range from $149 to $199. The ‘Pampered Duffer Package’ includes overnight accommodations, plus one round of golf at Crater Springs Golf Course and one 50 minute luxury spa treatment. Rates range from $224 to $274.

About Zermatt and Homestead Resorts

Zermatt Resort guests experience superb accommodations, conference facilities, gourmet dining and boundless recreation at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. Founded 127 years ago, Homestead Resort guests enjoy Crater Springs Golf course and the iconic geothermal Crater. Combined, these resorts offer 463 rooms with over 50,000 sq. ft. of conference space for group meetings in Utah.

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Midway Winter Games

Contact:   Debbie Batt

Zermatt and Homestead Resorts

435.709.9511 

debbie.batt@zermattresort.com

 

Local Resorts Invite Guests to Celebrate the Sochi Games in Midway

Jan. 21, 2014 – MIDWAY, UT – Zermatt and Homestead Resort Hotels In Midway, Utah are inviting guests to celebrate Utah’s Olympic heritage. Both resorts are offering promotional lodging packages until March 31, 2014. The gold package includes 25% off three nights or more, the silver package includes 20% off two nights and the bronze package includes 15% off one night.

“With so many friends and families of winter athletes in town, we want the guests of our Midway, Utah hotels and the community to celebrate the winter games here at our resorts,” said Debbie Batt, Director of Sales and Marketing and Zermatt and Homestead Resorts. “With such a wide variety of winter sports just minutes away, our hotel near Park City offers guests the opportunity watch the Winter Games on TV and then go out that day and participate in that same event here in the local area.”

Guests who stay or dine at either of the resorts during February will receive a commemorative winter games trading pin, as well as have the opportunity to watch the winter games at either of the resorts. They can also be their own athlete by participating in winter sports nearby.

Daily, guests can watch the 2014 Sochi winter games in Matty’s Bistro and Simon’s Restaurant. Complimentary hot wassail will be served from 4pm to 8pm in both resorts’ lobbies. Also, all guests staying at the resort will receive a free skate rental at the Midway City Ice Rink.

 “With our resorts centered in the Wasatch Mountains that hosted the 2002 Winter Games, guests of our Utah resort hotel can enjoy figure skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and much more,” said Batt. “This is just one more way that we can provide our guests with an interactive, unique way to celebrate the worldwide Winter Games.” 

About Zermatt and Homestead Resorts

Zermatt Resort guests experience superb accommodations, conference facilities, gourmet dining and boundless recreation at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. Founded 127 years ago, Homestead Resort guests enjoy Crater Springs Golf course and the iconic geothermal Crater. Combined, these resorts offer 463 rooms with over 50,000 sq. ft. of conference space.

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Thanksgiving at Zermatt Resort 2013

Join us this Thanksgiving for a traditional "Grand Buffet"

 

Leave the cooking to us, bring your family and enjoy some quality time together out of the kitchen!

Dinner will be served from 11am to 4pm with the traditional favorites.  

Including: 

  • Roasted Tom Turkey
  • Glazed Ham
  • Prime Rib of Beef
  • Cornbread Dressing
  • Mashed Potatoes 
  • Green Been Casserole
  • and more...

Adults $49.95/ 6-12 $34.95/ 5-under $9.95

Reservations 866-937-6288

Room packages are available from $199 

Packages include:

  • Accommodations
  • Grand Buffet for two adults
  • Additional guests can be added for an additional fee

 

Dining at Home?

Gourmet desserts are available "to go" from Backerei & Eis.  Call 866-937-6288 to pre-order (required)

 

Tripadvisor - Award of Excellence 2013

We are pleased to announce that Zermatt Resort and Spa has been named one of Tripadvisor's "Certificate of Excellence Winners" for 2013.  Thank you to our excellent team of associates and of course to our guests for providing feedback that allows us to improve each day!