Oftentimes we dodge things because on the outside they seem a lot more complicated than they need to be. This is the same with many different types of cuisine that appear to be a mission to accomplish.
But with the right guidance and a healthy mindset, they can become a staple in your culinary repertoire.
Crawfish is one of those foods, and every spring the Southeastern part of the United States will welcome crawfish season to a host of avid seafood fanatics.
So don’t let a few shells stop you from enjoying this delicacy (You might also want to check out this French Delicacy –The Escargot). Here’s a guide to crawfish, and how you should eat them.
What Are Crawfish?
Crawfish, more commonly known as crayfish, crawdads, or mudbugs, is a seafood that is typically caught in rivers or marshes and can be farmed into delicacies such as gumbo or crawfish boils.
With an amazing flavor that can be compared to shrimp or lobster, they have a sweet taste, and most of the best flavors can come from the meat of the tail (If you’re wondering what you can do with the shrimp tails, check this article out).
They are the state crustacean of Louisiana and are a common food for consumption at community dining events.
This means that they can be prepared in a number of ways, with many aromatics, herbs, and spices being used.
If you happen to end up at one of these events, or you are going to be visiting relatives or vacationing in the South East of the United States, you may want to ensure you follow these tips to help navigate eating crawfish.
How To Purchase Crawfish
If you’re going to be purchasing crawfish for consumption at home, or you intend to host a large crawfish event, then you need to ensure that the supply you’re buying from is known and trusted.
The crawfish should have had on the packaging that it is a product of Louisiana, or that it is Cajun certified.
The best time to purchase crawfish should be around the early to mid-season time, which is at this point that they will develop thinner shells that are easier to peel, as compared to late on in the season when they are usually much tougher and harder to peel.
In other words, you should avoid having crawfish on Memorial Day.
Live crawfish also have their recommendations, and you should take a look around the crawfish to make sure that they appear healthy.
Another tip is to ensure that they are still moving around a little bit, which means they are still fresh.
In terms of quantity, we recommend that you purchase around 3 to 4 pounds per head, whilst taking into consideration that farmed crawfish is not going to contain as much substance as a wild-caught crawfish.
This means that if you’re going to go down the farmed route, you are probably going to need to purchase more than you think.
How To Eat Raw Crawfish
Now for the part that you have been waiting for. Here are some simple steps to take to successfully consume raw fish.
The first step is to ensure that you separate the tail from the head.
You should hold the heads in one hand and place the tail in your other hand, and with a firm grip, you can twist to separate the tail from the head.
The next step is to get the most of the delicious meat out of the head.
This is where a lot of the flavor can be found in crawfish, which includes the crawfish butter that tastes somewhat like foie gras.
This can be recognized as the yellow part of the head.
You then begin to move on to the main part of the crawfish, which is the meat in the tail. You should peel the meat by removing the first tail shell segments, which makes it a lot easier to reach the meat.
You can then pull out the meat by pinching the tail with your hands and pulling the meat out completely with your other hand.
Make sure to clean the vein down the back if you can see it, and then you are now free to enjoy the crawfish meat.
Miscellaneous Tips For Enjoying Crawfish
Here are some tips to ensure that you have the best crawfish for serving.
The first tip comes before you even begin to cook the crawfish and to get rid of any dirt or debris that may have potentially remained from the body of water.
You can use cool, clean water which will do an effective job.
As we mentioned earlier, you want to ensure that you have around 3 to 4 pounds of crawfish per person.
Whilst this sounds like a lot of seafood, it will soon feel like a sensible amount as you remove the shell.
We recommend that you go with a wild-caught batch of crawfish, as they are much larger, and may contain a better nutritional yield when compared to a farmed crawfish.
As they are much larger, they also tend to be more expensive and less available than farmed crawfish.
Here’s a fact that you may not have known about crawfish, you can peel crawfish for someone else which is considered an act of love, and whilst it might be tempting to go with the notion that this is every man for themselves; it’s a loving gesture to help another pill their crawfish.
We mentioned in our steps to consuming crawfish that we recommend that you suck the heads, but you don’t necessarily have to do this.
Methods that entail boiling crawfish will make the head taste more intense as this is the area where the spices will gather.
However this also means that if you are going to be using a lot of spices, then this may overwhelm this part of the crawfish, and you might even find it too spicy.
If so, perhaps you can consume one or two of the heads and offer out the other ones.
Crawfish is a wonderful delicacy that when cooked correctly and when eaten correctly, is not as intimidating as it first seems.