Dickinson couple brings New Orleans-inspired crawfish recipe to Texas
Shortly after Brad and Dionne Carroll moved to Dickinson in 2005 — after Hurricane Katrina devastated their hometown of New Orleans — the search was on for places to eat that reminded them of home.
New Orleans, known for its flavorful cuisine, is where Brad Carroll learned from his father at an early age how to cook.
“You can say cooking is in my DNA,” he said. “After my father became blind in 1986, I took on the role of being the cook at our family events. I have a lot of family members that pride themselves in cooking, so I was more than ready to take the helm.”
Most of those family events included crawfish boils where snow crabs, sausage, corn and potatoes were the norm, along with the occasional beverage of soda, wine and beer.
In 2015, the Carrolls, who mostly were cooking crawfish for family and friends, decided to create Taste of Nawlins Seafood after getting requests almost weekly to cook for various businesses and private events.
“What started off as boiling just for our family and close friends, turned into friends of friends trying our crawfish, and the rest is history, as they say,” Dionne Carroll said. “We do private events such as birthday and graduation parties, family reunions, company picnics, class reunions and more.”
Over the years, the Carrolls have developed a recipe that has helped them win several cook-offs. They even have a special “Oooo Weee” sauce for dipping the crawfish.
“The secret to a great boil is getting the flavor in the meat,” Brad Carroll said. “The spices shouldn’t just be on the outside of the crawfish. When you bite into the meat, the flavor should be in there as well.”
Along with getting quality crawfish and the right spices, the key to a great crawfish boil is in the soaking process, the Carrolls said. Soaking allows the crawfish to absorb the flavor, they said.
“The bigger the crawfish, the longer the soak time,” Dionne Carroll said. “The larger crawfish are normally available between the months of April and June. So, if you love the ‘big boys,’ peak season is upon us.”
And what to do with leftover crawfish?
“We like to make étouffée or crawfish bisque,” Brad Carroll said. “Our ultimate goal is to open up Taste of Nawlins Seafood restaurants throughout the Houston-Galveston metroplex.”
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Nawlins Seafood
To boil one sack of crawfish, you’ll need whatever spice mix you like. (Brad Carroll recommends a dry mix instead of the liquid boil).
Live crawfish cleaned — you should plan on 3 to 4 pounds of crawfish per person (normally enough for 10 people) per meal. One sack contains about 35 pounds of live crawfish.
4 cloves of garlic
2 large onions
3 oranges, quartered or cut in half
6 bay leaves
2 bell peppers
4 stalks of celery, cut
Small, red potatoes*
Sausage* (links cut in half for desired servings)
(*As much as desired to accommodate how many people you’re feeding)
Fill a large crawfish pot halfway with water. Once fire is lit, add citrus items, vegetables, sausage and potatoes to the water. Once water comes to a boil, add dry mix (by waiting until it starts to boil, it keeps it from settling at the bottom of the pot).
Once water is at a rolling boil, add purged crawfish and cover with lid. Stir occasionally.
Once water is boiling again, turn off fire and add corn. Stir occasionally (this is the most important part of the process — the soak). As the water cools, it allows the crawfish and veggies to soak up all the good flavor.
Let crawfish soak for 30 minutes.
Tip: The crawfish are ready when they sink to the bottom of the pot.
Once they have soaked up all the good flavor, dump them on the table or in a cooler, and get ready to enjoy some Louisiana-style crawfish.