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Old 11-08-2005, 10:26 AM   #1
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Question on how to prepare crawfish tails

Crawfish season will be starting soon and I'm hoping to try out some cajun recipes. My question is, how are crawfish tails prepped for recipes calling for tail meat. I'm assuming the crawfish should be boiled at least partially (if just long enough to kill them) but how long should they be boiled if you're going to be cooking the tail meat further in something like etouffe or gumbo. Recipes usually call for just "tail meat" without mentioning how you get from live bug to tail meat. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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Old 11-08-2005, 05:37 PM   #2
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You get live crawfish in Chi-town? I hope not out of the river.
They're pretty delicate - don't cook dem bugs any longer than you would some shrimp. I wouldn't cook them first at all if you are making an etouffe or gumbo. You just t'row 'em in for the last few minutes til dey get all nice and pinky-looking.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:07 PM   #3
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Well, first you cook the bugs whole, just like mudbug says - just like shrimp, get the water boiling, throw 'em in, and cook just til pink/red; put them in a drainer and run cold water over them til they cool off enough to handle.

Then- you have to suck the heads off to get just the tail meat! Seriously, just twist the head portion off from the body; should pop right off.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:19 PM   #4
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Sil had something last night that looked really good - I didn't taste it even tho he offered some. He had pasta dish with shrimp, lobster and crawfish. It was a beautiful presentation.
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:37 AM   #5
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Boil them first, but not as long as for a crawfish boil, just until they get some color (basically, just long enough to kill them?). Pretty much what I expected. Just wanted to hear from someone who knew. Thanks for your help.

Live crawfish in chi-town: plenty of restaurants can get them, so there's obviously a source. One of the wholesale restaurant seafood suppliers has a retail shop nearby so I hope to be able to find them there. Otherwise, I'll just get a few people to go in on a shipment (50 lbs) and mail order them. I certainly wouldn't eat ANYTHING that comes out of the Chicago river, I gar-on-tee.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug
You get live crawfish in Chi-town? I hope not out of the river.
They're pretty delicate - don't cook dem bugs any longer than you would some shrimp. I wouldn't cook them first at all if you are making an etouffe or gumbo. You just t'row 'em in for the last few minutes til dey get all nice and pinky-looking.
lol, this was great. i was hearing it as if justin wilson was reading it, i gal-ron-tee-it.

one of my favorite dishes of all time is at a local restaurant in east rutherford, nj, (the park and orchard), is called pasta le ruth's.
it is crawfish tails, just cooked till pinky-lookin , in a spicy pink cream sauce, tossed in a thin linguine, alfredo style, with fresh chopped scallions. i think they must use the heads and shells to make a stock for the dish in some way since it has such a delicious crawfish flavor, that is nicely balanced with fresh creme and cayenne pepper. the flavor of the tails doesn't get lost like in many seafood and cream dishes. i will try to get the recipe from the chef/owners next time i go there. they are very nice guys that often go table to table to chat when the kitchen slows down, and have many of their most requested recipes already printed out for the customers.
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:38 AM   #7
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I love Crayfish tails, such lovely sweet flesh. Had a beautiful starter in a restaurant in York, England called the Lime House if i remember correctly. Was just a simple salad with a lime and chili creme fraiche dressing. Could be one of the best starters i've ever had.
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Old 11-27-2005, 11:38 AM   #8
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What about crawfish caught from Lake Superior? It's the cleanest body of fresh water on the planet. But I would assume the species of mudbug would be different than that from the gulf region. Are Lake Superior crawfish edible?

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Old 11-27-2005, 03:16 PM   #9
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Know what, GW? I never had 'em from the Great Lakes, but I cannot believe that they are substandard in any way (I agree w/you about the water quality of Lake Superior). I have to confess to a weakness for lake perch from those GL water bodies, though.

Go for it, brother, and tell us how you like them.
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:31 AM   #10
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We used to catch them in lakes in northern Wisconsin when I lived there. We would use a small piece of beef tied to a string, weighted down with a nail so that it would sink. We would lower this about a foot into the shoreline near rocks, and within a minute, one would crawl out and grab onto the meat. We'd scoop it up under the water with a pan. It was a long process, considering I now live in Southern Louisiana where sacks and sacks of mudbugs are the norm. There's nothing better than those crawfish boil gatherings where people would be sucking down the cold Abita beer.
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