I feel a little crustacean mood setting on. Let’s try our hand at astacology today.
Crayfish, also called crawfish or crawdad, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters to which they are closely related. More than half of the more than 500 species occur in North America, particularly Kentucky (Mammoth Cave) and Louisiana in the Mississippi basin. Crayfish also live in Europe, New Zealand, East Asia and throughout the world, including the Tristan da Cunha Islands. Nearly all live in freshwater, although a few survive in salt water. Crayfish are characterized by a joined head and thorax, or midsection, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, or dark brown in color. The head has a sharp snout, and the eyes are on movable stalks. Crayfish are usually about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.
Now time for a little crayfish humor: A guy walks into a restaurant, sits down to order, and asked the waiter does he serve crayfish. The waiter says yes. The guy says ‘I’ll have a pizza’. He points to a chair and says, ‘and a plate of chips for my crayfish friend here!’
Crayfish are sometimes kept as pets in freshwater aquariums. They prefer foods like shrimp pellets or veggies. Crayfish are Houdini’s themselves and are prone to escape the tank when unwatched. They are also used as fishing bait and and as live food for larger species of aquarium fish. But let’s cook with them instead!
Crayfish are very popular in French cooking where they are called Ã©crevisses. In the US, harvest comes from the waters of the Mississippi basin, and many Louisianans call their state the “Crawfish Capital of the World.” Crayfish can be prepared in most manners appropriate for lobster and, like lobster, turn bright red when cooked. They’re usually eaten with the fingers, and the sweet, succulent meat must be picked or sucked out of the tiny shells.
What I have planned in the next post is my Crawfish Elegance recipe.