Friday, February 17, 2012

 At Last……….Crawfish Season is Here!!

My Daughter Maggie
Due to last year’s drought in the Southeast, this year’s crawfish season started off slowly……and pricey.  Thankfully, due to recent warming weather and plentiful rain, the season is picking up nicely and expected to be better than average. When the weather warms, “mudbugs” move and eat more, making them grow larger and sweeter.

Crawfish pond in Eunice, Louisiana

From just a few experimental ponds in the 1950’s, Louisiana’s pond acreage has grown to nearly 200,000 acres today.  Wanting to learn more about this wonderful resource, I decided to go to the source. I had a very informative conversation with Jude Andrepoint of Lafayette, Louisiana.  He’s a wealth of information on crawfish.  Click on the link below and I hope you enjoy the interview! After the conversation has completed return to this page using ONLY the back arrow at the top of the page, otherwise you will close out the blog.
Carrying on from Jude’s comments, here are a few fun facts about crawfish and his recipe for a true Crawfish Boil:

  • Crawfish, also known as crayfish, crawdads and mudbugs, are members of the super family Astacoidea. They are a fresh water crustacean resembling small lobster to which they are related.
  • Louisiana produces 98% of the US crawfish 
  • market.

  • 85% of crawfish production comes from man made ponds. The balance is fished “wild” from the regional bayous in Louisiana.

  • In 2010, 1,202 producers sold 110.9 million pounds of crawfish from ponds. That represents $168.5 million dollars in revenue. In the wild, 1715 fisherman harvested 16.6 million pounds worth and estimated $13.3 million dollars.

  • There is no defined season for crawfish but the best of the season is expected from March to July.

  • With the warming weather in June, crawfish mate and then burrow in the mud. Come August, females lay their eggs. During this time, fresh rains are crucial for a proper hatch. As the weather cools in October, crawfish leave their burrows, begin to eat and the growth cycle begins.

 Jude’s Traditional Crawfish Boil

Jude's Crawfish Boil

3 gallons         Water
1 lb.                   Swamp Dust
1/2 lb.               Salt
1 cup                 Lemon Juice
10 lbs.              Crawfish, purged (see note below)
6 ears               Corn, shucked and cut in half
6 each              Onions, peeled and quartered
12 each             New Potatoes
12 each             Large Mushrooms (optional)
1 lb.                   Andouille Sausage, cut into 4" lengths
1 lb.                   Brussels Sprouts 
1 cup                 Swamp Dust (this is in addition to the 1lb above)

In a large stock pot fitted with a perforated bucket, bring the water, Swap Dust, Onions, Red Potatoes, Salt and Lemon Juice to a boil for 10 minutes.

Add the Sausage and boil for 3 more minutes.

Add the Corn, Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and optional Mushrooms. Boil for 3 minutes.

Add the Crawfish, stir well and cook for 4 minutes. Shut off the fire and let soak for 2 min

Remove the basket from the stock pot and allow excess liquid to drain.

If you are cooking more that one batch, place in an ice chest to keep hot

Pour the contents of the basket onto a paper lined table. (Old newspaper works great for this, that is if anyone still reads the actual paper news paper anymore. If not go get one of the free weekly papers, this is the best use for them anyway.)

Sprinkle 1 cup of Swamp Dust over the cooked Crawfish and Vegetables.

 Cook's Note - To purge Crawfish, fill an empty ice chest half full with cold water. Add 1/4 cup of salt to the water and stir well. Add the Crawfish to the ice chest, gently stir and allow to sit in the salted water for 10 minutes.

Remove the Crawfish from the water and drain.

Drain the ice chest  and rinse the Crawfish well with cold water.  The Crawfish are now ready for cooking.

 Dip Recipe -  Mayo, seasoning, ketchup and tiger sauce, mix all to your spice level, dip is good for veggies and crawfish. 

Now get dirty, there is no way to eat crawfish cleanly, don’t be shy you will get juice on your cloths, so wear something old. And don’t for get the cold beer. Can’t eat crawfish without cold beer

Chef Joe

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