Chef Box Series: Seafood Boil with Viet-Cajun Butter
“I grew up in a kosher household, but I would sneak out for a seafood boil,” says Chef Rachel. This famous Louisiana staple is something to celebrate, and something worth breaking the rules for.
Rachel’s house-made Viet-Cajun butter amplifies the flavors of the seafood boil, combining lemongrass, ginger, white pepper, fish sauce, and Old Bay seasoning into luxurious full-fat French butter. Crawfish and head-on shrimp tossed in spiced butter make for a hands-on, finger-licking affair.
Corn on the cob and potatoes are great optional additions to a boil, offering a little more starch to spread out the richness of the seafood and butter. If you want to go this way, add them to the pot when it reaches a boil and cook them to your desired tenderness. If you have room in the pot, you can add your shellfish right on top and finish it all together. If not, remove the vegetables from the seasoned water before adding your shellfish to that same pot.
RECIPE BY CHEF RACHEL MILLER AT NIGHTSHADE NOODLE BAR IN LYNN MASSACHUSETTS.
For The Seafood
- 5 pounds cooked crawfish, whole
- 2 pounds raw shrimp, head-on in shell
- 3 gallons water
- 1 cup fish sauce (Three Crabs or MegaChef brands preferred)
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup Old Bay seasoning
- fresh herbs (dill and cilantro), for garnish
- optional additions (corn, potatoes, sausage)
For The Butter
- Viet-Cajun butter (included in The Nightshade Noodle Bar Chef Box Collaboration)
Thaw the seafood items quickly in cold-running water or leave in a refrigerator overnight.
Bring all ingredients together in a pot large enough to have 3-4 inches of clearance above the water. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the water to your liking if needed.
Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and add the shrimp. Set a 3-minute timer. When the timer goes off, add the crawfish and set the timer for 4 minutes. At this point the shrimp are gently cooked through and the crawfish are completely heated through, ready to eat.
The crawfish and shrimp can soak in the water for up to 5 more minutes, should more time be needed to assemble the rest of the meal.
Let the butter sit out for an hour or so until soft enough to handle, then transfer it to a pot.
Using a rubber spatula, stir over low heat to gently warm the butter. Keep it moving so it doesn’t scorch. Do not boil the butter, just melt it gently.
Combine the seafood and the butter in a large mixing bowl and toss/mix until the seafood is evenly covered.
After tossing with butter, serve on a large, shareable platter or right from the mixing bowl.