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?

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12 Discussion to this post

  1. Freddy says:

    They have been SO tiny this season and entirely too difficult to get our hands on. Hopefully the bloom of warmer weather we're experiencing now will pay off in a month or so. As for eating straight tails, no thanks. I appreciate LSU's efforts but I don't plan to risk it.
    My favorite way to eat them is any way they're served — whether tossed in garlic butter like so many place in Houston do, authentically spice-boiled Cajun-style or Vietnamese style with the mayo and hot sauce. My favorite anecdote about them is when a friend from DC was here for a conference and I took her out for bugs. I stood up to get some more newspaper and returned to find her trying to chew one intact . . . shell and all. I was going to stop her immediately but the folks at the other tables were having too much fun watching her. I know — I'm going to hell.

    • Christine Ha says:

      Good gawd! I bet that experience has scared her away from crawfish forever. She must've been like, “What is wrong with these people?”

  2. T-BAG says:

    LOL, ever since that day I avoid the straight tail ones! Learned my lesson. We need to go try Daily Seafood…my mouth is watering thinking about crawfish.

  3. Cecelia says:

    The only kind of fish we had, when I was growing up, was canned tuna. Later, I learned to like broiled. or stuffed, flounder. and baked Cod. When I lived on the Texas Gulf Coast, a friend would bring me King Fish that I had to figure out something to do with. Most people don't like them because they are dry. However, I liked that they only have the center bone with 4 prongs. Easy to clean and cut. I cut the fish into 3 inch steaks, after cleaning. I used an electric skillet . Seasoned with lemon juice, black . pepper and cooked with diced onions and green pepper. Sometimes I added a dash of Worchester shire Sauce and a diced clove of garlic. After I put the fish in the skillet, I added half Burgundy wine and water and cooked covered until the onions were done.
    One steak was almost more than a person could eat. It seemed to just grow! I always had some left and used that the same way I made tuna salad. I crumbled it into a bowl and it too, just seemed to grow! Made a big bowl full.
    I crumbled the steak into a bowl, added lemon juice and black pepper, dice a boiled egg, green pepper, sometimes apple and pecans, or celery, and completed with Miracle Whip and a sprinkle of sugar. I would sometimes add some diced chives.
    The more we ate, the more thee seemed to be!
    Haven't been able to find King Fish since I moved from the Coast years ago.
    I don't think that I am adventurous enough to try things like crawfish. I'm one of those people who spend time in the store, talking to the poor little Lobsters in the tank and feeling so sorry for them.
    One time, I caught a crab walking on the beach. I put a bucket on it, took it home, and threw it in the freezer, thinking that I must learn to cook seafood. I was so distressed to hear clicking noises
    coming from the freezer all night! I had been told that, if I froze the crab, then threw it into a pot of boiling water, it would come back to life. So, I put the frozen crab in a large pot of boiling water. Of course, it didn't come back to live, or even cook decently. It just came all to pieces and I ended up throwing it out into the bay, which was in my back yard. That was my big experiment with cooking seafood.
    It does look so good, sometimes, though.

  4. Cecelia says:

    I was told by my fisherman friends that King Fish are kin to Mackarel and most people just throw them back. They are too dry when cooked. But, with my wine and water method, they were very moist and flakey, and delicious. I thought the crab story was funny. About that time, I went fishing in Matagorda Bay with friends in a boat. We were fishing around a shrimp boat and I caught an 8 foot long shark! The men were pulling the shark in the boat and arguing about whether it was a Ling Fish or a Shark. They hoped I would cook them some Shark steaks! But the shark flipped back out of the boat, into the water, all bloody from boat hooks, and the other sharks took care of it. I was glad to get back to land!
    King Fish look a lot like Dolphins. The ones I worked with were about 3 to 4 feet long and were caught off Port O'Conner in the Gulf. That was a long time ago, but, with your skills, I'm sure that you could come up with some wonderful King Fish dishes!

  5. Carter says:

    I'd love to try them, but this is a luxery delicacy, so I can't afford a single crawfish one here in Europe.

  6. Cecelia says:

    In high school Biology class, years ago, LOL, our teacher took us to a little creek at the edge of town He gave us each a piece of string and we tied chunks of bacon f b the end. We sat on a little wooden bridge and fished for crawfish. Only two people caught a crawfish. We took them back to class, just before lunch. We were supposed to dissect them and look at them under a magnifying glass. One boy took hi sharp instrument for dissecting and just stirred that creature up. Looked like a stirred egg, and smelled awful. No one could eat lunch. We went back to doing book work after that! I assumed that people ate them because they are easy to catch and plentiful.
    Are they expensive in Europe because they have to be imported . Maybe we should ship more over there.

    • Christine Ha says:

      I recall working with crawfish in science class, too. LOL. I do believe it's expensive in Europe because of the import costs. But I feel like crawfish farming is advancing, so maybe pretty soon, they'll be able to grow them themselves overseas.

  7. lacrawfish12 says:

    If you are like every other person in Louisiana, crawfish season is something you look forward to. How those tiny crustaceans hold so much and Crawfish Tails are so exited for eat… thanks

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