Crazy for Crawfish – Twist, Suck, Peel

Boiled Crawfish

Boiled Crawfish with Corn and Potatoes

Discarded Crawfish

Crawfish after they have been twisted, sucked and peeled

From March to June all along the Gulf Coast in the United States there is a food craze that transcends ethnicity and where someone was raised. Crawfish Season has arrived and whether it is done at home, eaten at a Cajun restaurant, Louisiana eatery, fundraiser, catered, a social event or even a Vietnamese restaurant the smell, sounds and visions of mounds of boiled seasoned crawfish being devoured by the hungry masses is a common sight.

There are experts and those dedicated to the Crawfish Boil whose knowledge, passion and zeal is so great that I will not even attempt to explain how to prepare and cook Crawfish for a meal. There is plenty of information available on the internet to keep the curious busy for days on perfecting their own Crawfish Boil.

I really do not remember when I ate my first Crawfish when I moved to Houston in 1996. It must have been either that year or in 1997. What I do remember is that the process of twisting off the tail, sucking the head and pinching the meat from the tail seemed so natural as if I had been born in Louisiana. If you have ever sat down to each Maryland Blue Claw Crabs, the skill required to enjoy Crawfish is kids play. This is part of what makes eating Crawfish so much fun, it is easy to do.

Crawfish are located around the world and are enjoyed by many cultures with their own unique preparation and cooking styles. In the United States, Louisiana reigns supreme with the Crawfish Boil being an ingrained element of their culture. Thankfully, Houston, TX is a short drive ensuring that tons of live Crawfish are delivered in damp burlap bags to be enjoyed. Louisiana produces 90% of the Crawfish harvested in the United States with a annual harvest ranging between 75 million to 105 millions pounds depending upon environmental variables. The cool winter experienced in 2010-2011 decreased production, but with the warm winter of 2011-2010 a large harvest should be expected. Crawfish are harvested both through aquaculture and by catching them in the wild.

For me, a large pile of seasoned boiled (poached) Crawfish in front of me with a cold beer close at hand with friends sitting around the table is a great experience. I do look forward to the coming of Spring and the delivery of the Crawfish from Louisiana. This year’s first Crawfish Boil was made possible by my good friend Nancy.

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