by Jane Riley
“When I was growing up in Mississippi, we used to cook crawdads in tin cans on the creek banks.
As an adult in Louisiana, I have learned to appreciate crawfish cuisine.”
Professional Crawfish Eating
Amateur crawfish eaters have learned to appreciate the delicious mud-based delicacy -- de-mudded and boiled in proper seasoning, of course -- but find themselves daunted by the process of peeling the crusty tail covering to extract the meat. We crack, pull and peel laboriously, as though they were tough shrimp, finally to retrieve the delicacy.
Crawfish are not fresh water shrimp, tough or otherwise . . . as any Pro will quickly attest! Said Pro will further attest that the preferred shelling technique is much different and said crustacean, obviously hatched to be eaten, comes with a specialized shelling feature, much better than the measly shrimp.
Tip from Chef Brian Smith: When eating crawfish, there's no need to remove the peel from the tail. While you are laboring over the crust of the crustacean, your Cajun friends will eat five times as many crawfish as you do.
Here's the easy way to do it. First, break off the head and discard it. (There are those, however, who suck the heads and pick the delicious meat out of the larger claws.) After you break the head off, place your thumb on the ejection button near the tail of the crawfish on the underside and mash firmly to break the meat loose.
With the shell still partially intact, bring the tail meat to your mouth and sink your teeth into the exposed meat. Chomp down on it, and it will pop into your mouth as you leave the tail behind.
Since crawfish are tastier and more plentiful this year (2004) than they have been in years, I’ve been working on different ways to prepare them. Write me at the address below and I’ll send you my original recipe for “Crawfish and Eggplant Pies,” which are simple-to-prepare individual pastries that can be served as appetizers or main dishes. The ingredients smell fantastic while you mix them.
You will feel good when you serve the pies because of their excellent taste and presentation. People will think you spent hours cooking them!
Jane Riley is a native Mississippian who now calls Louisiana home.
Jane explains: “Last year at my family's reunion, everybody was telling whoppers and eating all kinds of good food. While sitting there enjoying the food and fellowship, I had two ideas. One was to write a book of recipes, mostly acquired from my family, and the other was to write a book of stories--just anecdotes instead of real short stories--about my family. The two ideas merged and FLAVORED WITH LOVE is the result.”
FLAVORED WITH LOVE is a happy, user-friendly cookbook (300 pages), containing tall tales, family secrets, and four poems mixed with about 240 recipes reflecting a variety of cooking styles. There are Italian, Cajun, and country recipes included.
Flavored With Love
The book may be purchased by sending $14.95 plus $3.00 for shipping (and for Louisiana residents, sales tax of $1.27) to Blue Moon Books - Louisiana, 207 N. Service Road E, #213, Ruston, LA 71270.
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