You can call them crayfish, crawdads, mudbugs or fresh-water lobsters, but they’ll always be crawfish to the people of Louisiana. There’s a lot to learn about these crustaceans – which do somewhat resemble a little lobster – such as the fact they’re members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea, they breathe through their gills, and they don’t like polluted water.
But who cares about all that? What’s important to know is when is crawfish season so you can cook and eat them.
Well, there’s no rigidly set season, like you have with shrimp or crab, but there are times when you’re more likely to find crawfish being loaded up on the plates of people who know what good eating is all about. This happens roughly between the beginning of March and the end of June.
It’s during these months that the crawfish population reaches high numbers and the critters are large enough to make fixing and eating them worthwhile.
The biggest thing that affects the birth, growth and availability of crawfish is the weather. These animals thrive in rainy, warm climates, so traditionally spring and early summer is when we start hearing about them. A particularly wet and mild winter can produce crawfish in larger-than-normal numbers. In some locales, crawfish are available even in fall and winter. Check around and see who’s got what.
The next question is, what do you do with crawfish?
You’ll find complete step-by-step instructions on how to make Cajun boiled crawfish on ExperienceNewOrleans.com. Note that this recipe serves “8 people, or 3 Cajuns.” This means that if you don’t know any Cajuns, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of it.
What you’ll need: Big cooking pot with a wire basket that can accommodate 25 pounds of crawfish; a lid; an outdoor cooker fueled by propane; dry and liquid crab boil, rock salt, onions, potatoes, corn, garlic, cayenne pepper, lemons and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.
But before you start messing around with the ingredients, the recipe states, “Go buy a six-pack of cold beer and drink the first one.”
After that, it’s pretty basic.
Once everything is cooked, you spread a bunch of newspapers on an old table outdoors, dump the basket of delicious, hot crawfish onto the newspaper, then sprinkle with the Tony Chachere’s. If you’re watching your sodium, don’t read the paper while sprinkling. Dump the veggies over the crawfish. Make a dipping sauce (instructions on the linked page above). Drink beer and eat.
If you’re from New Orleans, you already know all of this. If you’re from Somewhere Else and can lay your hands on some crawfish, try the recipe at home, and when somebody asks you what you’re doing, say, “I’m making crawfish, N’awlins-style. What do it look like?”
During crawfish season Bubba Gump Shrimp Company serves up spicy boiled crawfish with corn and andouille sausage. Stop in and try a pound or two. It pairs perfectly with an ice cold Abita Strawberry lager!
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