By Contributor Matthew Groves
Crawfish wasn’t on my radar until I moved down south (or further south, having grown up in Tennessee) to study nutrition. My college in Birmingham, Alabama had a crawfish boil every year, but I wasn’t a fan. Those beady eyes looking back at you is bizarre, right? And all that work for just a bite of meat wasn’t worth it to me. So on that day every year, I passed on the crawfish and went with chicken, always a safe choice in my mind. But then, a funny thing happened; I moved again further south to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and began to develop a taste for the pint-sized red crustaceans.
During my foodservice rotations at a hospital, I started to really enjoy crawfish. The sous chef made crawfish etouffeefor a hospital event that was to die for. The seasonings he used really brought great flavor to an otherwise bland meat. I had it again, this time paired with shrimp and crab meat as a topping for seafood bread. That became my new favorite dish, and I probably ate four toast-size pieces. From then on I was sold, looking for and ordering crawfish at every restaurant that served my new little friend (which isn’t hard to find on the coast).
Check out this top-rated Hot Crawfish Dip recipe.
My sister came down and, being a food dare-devil like myself, wanted to try a crawfish recipe. What do ya know, there was crawfish festival going on. We watched in awe as freshly boiled crawfish, potatoes, and corn overflowed from buckets onto the picnic tables lined with newspaper. The highlight was the crawfish cook-off, when amateur and professional chefs competed for the coveted trophy made out of beer cans; classy, I know.
It was nice to go around and taste the different entries and then vote for your favorite. My pick was one of the spicier ones. I asked the chef what he used and, even though it was a top secret special blend, I could definitely taste the cayenne pepper. It took my sister a few tries to nail the technique of getting every morsel of meat out of their cage-like bodies, but she eventually became a master. Her favorite was a milder one with hints of garlic powder.
With the summer coming up, I’m looking forward to laying on the beach (studying for my registered dietitian’s exam) and tons of crawfish.
What’s your favorite way to prepare crawfish? Tell us below and check out these recipes.