Crawfish, o crawfish, you are so tiny this season
Here’s another “everything in moderation” (read: not-so-healthy) post for you.
If you’re from the deep south, particularly from Louisiana or the surrounding states, you not only know what crawfish is, you love it. Sure, those little mudbugs give some the heebie-jeebies, but not us from nearby Cajun country.
I can’t recall the first time I’d ever had crawfish straight out of its exoskeleton. I was probably in college or a recent graduate. Once I got over the miniature lobster-looking things, all bright red and steaming with their miniature, cute, harmless claws, and once I’d caught a whiff of the spicy garlic Cajun flavor, I was hooked.
Crawfish season is from January to June, peaking somewhere between March and May. But because we’ve all had such an erratic and abnormally cold winter this past season, the crawfish have had little chance to grow and develop. This translates into small crawfish on short supply. And that translates to many sad crawfish eaters.
Regardless, I couldn’t let a crawfish season pass without paying it homage. Here’s my recipe for a good ol’-fashioned crawfish boil, which can also be found in my cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen. If you can’t get live crawfish to the size of your liking this year, bookmark the recipe for next season.
Let me close with an anecdote that I find funny and that my friend finds not so much. I have a friend—we’ll call her T—who loooves crawfish. She is a skinny broom of a gal but dared to enter into a crawfish eating contest two years ago against another friend and my husband. T was the only female in the contest, but she managed to hold her own, eating (I think) 11 pounds of crawfish. (For the record, my hubs won the whole thing, but I prefer to keep his number a secret—let’s just say it was obscene.) Anyway, there was one time I’d made crawfish, and T came over to eat five or six pounds of it (normal for her). She ate every single one, cleaning out the heads and everything, which is where the majority of the flavor lies. An hour later, she was supine on my couch moaning: “Ughhh, my stomach hurts.”
“Did you eat any crawfish with straight tails?” I’d asked.
“I ate everything.”
I proceeded to lecture her on how straight-tailed crawfish meant they were dead going into the pot and, thus, likely spoiled. “Don’t eat the straight stuff,” I warned.
But then I came across this article recently about the straight-tailed crawfish myth. So now the only explanation I can think of for T’s tummy ache is good ol’-fashioned glutton.
Have you ever had crawfish? How do you feel about it? My Vietnamese family loves to dip the tail meat in lemon juice, salt, and pepper or Sriracha and mayo—what’s your favorite way to eat crawfish? Who makes your favorite crawfish?