Growing up in Louisiana I had the opportunity to eat a lot of crawfish. And man do I miss it. It’s amazingly delicious, if done right! I still can’t decide which is my favorite, crawfish etoufee or fresh out of the pot boiled crawfish…so good! Even though Mardi Gras is over in Louisiana, crawfish season is in full swing, and will peak in mid-April or May.
Never been to a crawfish boil? Well, imagine a long table covered in newspaper. Over in the corner a massive pot bubbles away with spices that tease. After a few beers, the host comes over and pours the drained crawfish (and corn, potatoes, and even garlic and mushrooms) onto the table. Time to get started!
I’m drooling as I type.
The crawfish are bright, brilliant red, piping hot, and spicy. For those unfamiliar with peeling crawfish, it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of, but that’s what the beer is for! If you’re particularly adventurous, you may even want to suck the head to get all those good juices out. Oh yeah, and we sometimes save the heads too. And stuff them later with more seafood yumminess and put those back in a stew (re: crawfish bisque and post for a later day).
For those lucky enough to get their hands on some Louisiana crawfish, you’re doubly lucky. These critters are delicious AND an excellent sustainable seafood choice. What could be better?!
Crawfish are often farmed in old crop fields, or with rotation of crops like rice, soybeans, or sorghum. And crawfish are detritovores, meaning they eat whatever they can find to munch on. As in …no feed is added to these ponds! Hip hip hooray! (Read our blog about feed here). But they do use some fish to lure the crawfish in for harvest.
But these tasty crawdads are subject to competition with cheaper imports, like a lot of the domestic seafood market. Most imported crawfish is just the tailmeat, and not the whole crustacean, so if you’re going all in crawfish boil style, you’re most likely eating U.S. crawfish. Be sure and double check the country of origin if your looking for some tails for your next etoufee.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Photos courtesy of Beth Curry.