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Herbs and Spices Crab Boil



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Herbs and Spices Crab Boil
Herbs: A Country Garden Cookbook

by Rosalind Creasy and Carole Seville,
1995, Collins Publishers San Francisco


“In Louisiana parlance, a boil is the mixture of herbs and spices added
to stock for cooking crab – or crawfish or shrimp – for a zesty feast. In
this recipe, dried herbs, preferably garden-grown and home-dried, play
a major role, along with an assortment of spicy seeds.”

Herbs and Spices Boil:
2 teaspoons dried sweet basil
1 teaspoon dried sweet marjoram
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
3 dried bay laurel leaves, coarsely chopped
1 dried Tabasco or cayenne chili pepper,
stemmed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup mustard seeds
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons celery seeds
2 tablespoons dill seeds
1 tablespoon ground cloves

 8 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt
2 lemons, sliced
2 stalks celery, plus the small, light green
inner heart with leaves attached
1 yellow onion, sliced
4 to 4 1/2 pounds live crabs

To prepare the herbs and spices boil, combine all the ingredients in a large
bowl. With the tips of your fingers, lightly crumble the herb leaves and stir
to mix well with other ingredients. Place the mixture on a double layer of
cheesecloth. Bring the corners together to form a pouch and tie securely
with kitchen string.
In a 10- to 12-quart enameled [or stainless steel] kettle, combine the water,
salt, lemons, celery, onion and cheesecloth pouch. Bring to a boil over high
heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Uncover, raise the heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Add the crabs and
boil briskly for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the shells turn bright red. Turn off
the heat and allow the crabs to remain in the water for 10 minutes.
Remove the crabs with tongs and discard the cooking liquid. When cool
enough to handle, crack the crabs and pile them on a large serving platter.
Serve hot or cold. Serves 4 to 6.

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