Retired seafood legend unseals secret crawfish recipe after 20 - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Local seafood legend boils crawfish once again, 20 years after retirement

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A deep passion for seasoning and boiling crawfish helped to shape much of Al Scramuzza's legendary career.

The charismatic chef ran the now-defunct Seafood City for 45 years, and his off-the-wall commercials are New Orleans classics.

For the past two decades, his beloved recipe has been locked away -- until now.

"Last time it was taken out it was before 1994. I'm now taking it out once again," Scramuzza said. "I actually retired from Seafood City in 1994, and people since 1994 have been asking me about my crawfish boil. They cannot duplicate it or get the taste of it anywhere."

And so, Sunday afternoon, Scramuzza invited family, friends and neighbors to enjoy a special one-time-only boil.

In the 88-year-old's own words, he's giving the people what they want. Those lucky enough to enjoy the feast said ‘mission accomplished.'

"It's not too spicy but it has a lot of good taste," said Cate Ardon, one of the youngest in attendance.

Sheryl White agreed.

"It's on the mark. It's real good," she said.

"If you're from New Orleans, you know what Al Scramuzza stands for -- the crawfish, the seasoning and it just brings back the memories," said Ryan Ardon, a longtime friend of Al's.

Sunday's crawfish boil came amid an otherwise dreadful season by most accounts, although Scramuzza thinks a turnaround is already underway.

"This is my prediction -- I believe the hard times are over for crawfish. Just three weeks ago, crawfish live were like $5 a pound. Today, they're like anywhere from $2.50 to $2.75 a pound," he said. "These crawfish are genuine Belle River crawfish, which were not even seen just two weeks ago. They're just beginning to flourish."

But price, size and the native location of the crawdads aside -- it's mostly about the seasoning, Scramuzza said.

Although he wouldn't share his exact recipe, he did point out a few all-important boiling tips.

"Oh man, you're looking at onions, garlic, lemon, coriander -- other stuff that I'm not gonna mention," he said. "It's got a good kick, but not overly. It's good, it's just right and you know, the thing about it is, it's less sodium. A lot of people really bombard their crawfish with sodium. You don't have to do that."

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