Hello and welcome to this thing we’re doing where we help you figure out what you’re gonna put in your mouth this week. Some of these are recipes we’ve tried, some of these are recipes we’re looking forward to trying, all of them are fucking delicious. Tell us what you want to put in your piehole or suggest your own recipes, and we’ll talk about which things we made, which things we loved, and which things have changed us irreversibly as people.
Southerners are unfamiliar with traditional seasons like winter, spring, summer and fall. Temperature is no indication of the time of year, so we mark the passing of time with festivals and foods.
In Louisiana, spring hasn’t sprung officially until the social calendar fills up with crawfish boils. For the uninitiated, crawfish (pronounced exactly as spelled) are tiny, ditch-dwelling crustaceans that resemble lobsters. Harvested from the rice paddies, heavily seasoned and boiled, crawfish are a delicacy in Louisiana.
Fridays during Lent, Mother’s Day, graduations and engagements are frequently celebrated with a crawfish boil, usually an all-day outdoor event involving heavy drinking and hungrily eyeing the pot of boiling crawfish waiting for the cherry-colored creatures to be dumped ceremoniously on a long, newspaper-topped table. Friends, family and uninvited but welcome guests stand elbow to elbow, painstakingly peeling the miniscule crawfish tail from its razor sharp shell. Children are taught to peel crawfish before they’re potty trained, and their tiny hands make them master peelers. It’s really a sight to behold.
Unless you’re crawfishing in your own backyard, buying live crawfish to boil or buying pre-boiled crawfish can be pricey, and hosting a large crawfish boil is just as much of a status symbol as a seasonal celebration. Excess crawfish is never thrown away; it’s cherished.
We have a saying in Louisiana: there’s no such thing as leftover crawfish. Once guests have eaten themselves sick, it’s everyone’s duty to leave no crawfish unpeeled. Nimble fingers deftly rip apart the crawfish bodies, and the seasoned tails are Zip-locked and frozen for the non-crawfish times of year.
Below you’ll find some recipes for what to do with all those “leftover” crawfish tails hanging out in your freezer. Those unlucky enough to live far from fresh-caught crawfish can purchase frozen tails through a number of online retailers.