Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to Peel Crawfish

Just a reminder, the 9th Annual DGA Family and Friends Crawfish Boil is THIS SATURDAY, March 12, 2016.  

Where: Maison Lafitte, 402 Lafitte St., Mandeville, LA 70448

When: 12:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M. 

In anticipation of the boil, we thought it would be a good idea to offer a refresher on how to eat crawfish. Peeling them can seem daunting, but with a little bit of practice it's no big deal at all. After a few dozen, anyone can become a crawfish peeling pro. So read up and then on Saturday you can eat 'em just as fast as you can peel 'em. 

Today we'll show all of ya'll how to peel a crawfish.  The process is relatively simple, and a well-coooked crawfish should give even inexperienced folks little trouble.  
Before you start peeling, remember that crawfish boiled live typically have curled tails, such as the one in the image above.  Those that were dead when they went in the boil (there’s always a few) have flat tails and mushy meat.  You can toss those suckers into your pile of shells if you like.

You might have heard of the twist, pinch, and suck method of peeling crawfish.  This refers to twisting off the head, pinching the tail, and sucking the head.  This is the basic method we’re going to learn, although sucking the head is entirely optional.  Most crotchety Cajuns suck the heads to put newcomers off their crawfish, but there’s also a culinary reason to do it and I’ll explain that at the end.

Although these colloquial terms are wildly inaccurate in terms of a crawfish’s anatomy, the two basic parts you need to know about are the “head,” the main body of the crawfish, and the “tail,” the segmented abdomen of the crawfish. 
To start peeling, grasp the head in one hand and the tail in the other. 

Next, twist the head and pull it away from the tail. 

At this point, you can pinch the tail and pull out the meat with your teeth, but that takes some crawfish experience.  Being new to peeling crawfish, you will have more success if you peel the first segment of the shell off of the tail. 

You can then flip the tail over, use your thumb to pinch the tail at the base, and then pull out the meat.

Last, but not least, you can suck the head.  The reason to do this is that most of the fat is in this part of the crawfish and it doesn’t always come out with the tail meat.  Like crabs, crawfish fat is extremely tasty and it holds a remarkable amount of flavor. You also get a good taste of the spicy boil from sucking the head.

See you Saturday! 

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