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Salt-Roasted Crawfish

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Ingredients

4 to 6 pounds rock salt, enough to cover crawfish

2 ancho chilies, chopped

2 pasilla chilies, chopped

2 chipotle chilies, chopped

2 star anise

4 whole cloves

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 garlic bulb, peeled

3 pounds live crawfish, cleaned

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. 
  2. Mix together all ingredients except crawfish. 
  3. Place salt mixture in large pan and heat in oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Place crawfish in large metal roasting pan and carefully pour hot salt mixture over top. Return to oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crawfish shells are bright red. Roasting time will vary depending on size of crawfish. Remove crawfish with tongs to test for doneness.

Chef note: I came up with this recipe after salt-roasting some Gulf shrimp. The chilies in this add a bit of smokiness because as they roast they begin to smoke and infuse into the crawfish. The anchos have a sweeter smoke than the others. The majority of the spice comes from the pasillas and the chipotles. I smoke my own chipotle for four days and the local farmer I get them from always gives me a crazy-hot red jalapeño. 

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