crawfish

recordstraightMarch 7, 2014

Is there a certain way to cook crawfish. We tried some tonight, they were edible but they just didn't seem right.

We steamed them they same way we do lobsters, is this the right way?

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kitchendetective

I think crawfish prepared like lobster would have little flavor. I have prepared them two ways: 1) As part of a "crawfish boil'" including boiling, seasoned water, corn on the cob, small peeled onions, and small potatoes; and 2) in gumbo. I never ate them before we moved to Texas, but I do enjoy them. Crawfish boils are very messy affairs, best prepared and eaten outdoors, with plenty of towels available. In my prior life, they were known as "crayfish."

Here is a link that might be useful: I sub wax or parchment paper for the traditional newspaper

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Fri, Mar 7, 14 at 9:57

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 9:53AM
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angelaid

We called them crawdads growing up. Never cooked or eaten them though.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:06AM
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bob_cville

Two different friends of mine have annual "crawfish boil" parties,which are pretty much as kitchen detective describes. They are a sort of barbarian affair with everyone standing around newspaper-covered tables grabbing the cooked crayfish cracking them open, eating the tail meat and tossing the body aside. Or grabbing the corn or potatoes or smoked sausage that is cooked with the crayfish with their hands and gnawing on that. I usually have to mentally repeat to myself, "they're not bugs, they're not bugs, they're not bugs"

Regarding their names "crayfish" is more common in the north, while "crawdad" is heard more in central and southwestern regions, and "crawfish" further south, although there are considerable overlaps (according to Wikipedia)

I also once have a dish of crayfish etouffee at a music festival, which they were simmering in a large pot. Or rather than simmering I'd say they were keeping just warm enough to be an ideal growth medium for incubating bacteria. I don't think I've been that sick since.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:29AM
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kitchendetective

Um, didn't want to add the graphic bits, but experienced crawfish boil participants bite off the head, spit it out, and suck out the tail meat.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:36AM
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sleevendog

Break off the tail and such the heads...full of juices, mudbug juices. We also call them crawdads. Then squeeze the back body if later in the season and larger and peel to release the tails. Look just like tiny lobsters and eaten the same way-ish.
Messy if eaten like an EasterShore crab boil. 3-5 lbs per person is common unless many other things are going on. Usually a big backyard bbq affair.

If totally unfamiliar, many other dishes are traditional in the south without making the big mess. Can be used in replace of shrimp in a dish like a scampi. Lived in NewOrleans a few years where i met my husband. Long time ago but we ate them often using the boil-up method with potatoes, smoked sausage, onions, lemons, and corn. Any left overs we picked and used a variety of ways but mostly as a pasta or rice dish the next day.

Most use a crab boil packaged mix like Zaterraines(sp) or any crab boil. (can be very salty) so it is easy to make your own especially if you just have a few lbs.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 11:49AM
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recordstraight

Thanks, I think we will try them again in the summer when we can do a crawfish boil. We tried them because the kids wanted to and we cooked them the way the counter guy said to. We are in Canada so we don't normally see them up here. No excuse I know. Thanks for the tips. When it warms up I will try them again

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 2:42PM
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sleevendog

The season recently started down South and through June i think. They travel well like lobsters.
We are seeing them in NYC also. But we are getting nice fresh clams and gulf shrimp so i'm always torn what to choose. I think living down South i had my fill but tempted, though we still have snow on the ground and hesitate to try a messy boil-up.
Great that you tried them! Fun to do that with the kids. Next go around you could try a dipping sauce like for shrimp...one a bit sweet for the kids and one a bit spicier with horseradish for the big kids, (us adults).
We've pulled off a mixed boil-up using what we see super fresh in the spring, early summer.
Starting the big pot of water with seasonings to a boil, adding what needs longer cooking like the potatoes first, smoked sausage, then adding veg and others, a couple small lobsters, clams, shrimp, and crawdads last....just needs 3-5 min, top with fresh corn cut into 4's...(our corn needs just a sec of heat). Some add mushrooms, asparagus, snow peas, sweet peas.
A colander helps, : )...dump out on a thick layer of newspaper, (i top with a nice rolling of white butcher paper). Roll of paper towels, eat with hands, easy clean up.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 3:53PM
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arley_gw

The recipe at the link is the way it's done in Louisiana. I grew up on those yummy things; they are best in the spring. If someone would force me to choose between lobster and crawfish, I'd unhesitatingly choose crawfish.

The point is, get your very well seasoned water boiling, and boil for a while before adding the crawfish so the flavorings can blend. You don't want to overcook the crawfish, 5 or 10 minutes is fine.

Now, peeling them is an art. Here are directions for a right handed person: grab the crawfish tail in your right hand with the crawfish facing to the left. Grab the body with your left hand and twist in opposite directions, and the tail will come off. Still holding the tail with your right hand, peel off the first two or three sections of the tail shell. You now have exposed a bit of the tail meat. Grab that tail meat with the index finger and thumb of your left hand, and gently pull while pinching the other end of the tail meat through the shell, near the flippers. If you're lucky, the meat will come out in one piece. Devein it (that's a euphemism, it's intestine that runs along the top) if necessary (an empty 'vein' is edible), and pop it into your mouth.

Hardcore crawfish eaters will, of course, suck the heads. There's a tiny bit of fat and liver inside the head which has soaked up a lot of seasonings. (In case it isn't clear, you suck on the part that you just separated the tail from, not the side of the head that has eyes and antennas.) Using a lobster analogy, you're getting the tomalley out of the critter.

Hence the phrase seen on bumper stickers and T-shirts: "Suck da heads and squeeze da tips."

Here is a link that might be useful: crawfish boil

This post was edited by arley on Fri, Mar 7, 14 at 16:51

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 4:47PM
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Islay_Corbel

Here, it's served with an Armoricaine sauce. Below is a link to a recipe and you can also see what it's like where I live!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sauce armoricaine

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 2:54AM
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glenda_al

fried crawfish tails are devine!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 11:24PM
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kitchendetective

Do you take them out of the shell first?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 5:40PM
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bob_cville

Arley wrote:

Hardcore crawfish eaters will, of course, suck the heads. There's a tiny bit of fat and liver inside the head which has soaked up a lot of seasonings.

My fear (which may well be unfounded), is that since they are bottom feeders that the fat and liver will have soaked heavy metals, and organo-phosphates, and other nasty toxins from their environment, before soaking up the seasonings in the pot. Although I think that even if I had a detailed toxicology report on a batch of crayfish, I'd still decline "sucking the head" because it just seems unappetizing.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 11:15AM
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kitchendetective

Well, you definitely want to make sure that they are cooked throughout.

Here is a link that might be useful: Do not eat raw crawfish

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:25PM
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arley_gw

Bob, that's a good point. Most Louisiana crawfish are from either the Atchafalaya spillway, or from rice farms, and those are pretty safe areas. I don't eat any crawfish from China.

Kitchendetective, that article has a very high 'ewww' factor. I emailed it to my siblings still in La.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 4:58PM
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