Only a post of lunch today, since my dinner today was a pretty uninspired sesame tofu burger with fried rice (good, but not recipe worth at all!) — I’m doing pretty well so far, a few headaches but I think that’s more from sort of flu I’m developing than any case of missing meat 😛
My parents have never been fans of crawfish. I’m sure it’s like a sin against their Swedish-ness, since crawfish parties are classic Swedish staple in the summer. My childhood is filled with memories of my grandparents returning with large boxes of fresh crawfish from the fishmongers in the industrial area on the island, whilst nearly every party which I was dragged along too usually meant some sort of serving of crawfish, whether as a whole meal, or as part of a larger buffet.
And I love them. I can see why they creep people out a little, even those who have nothing against seafood anyway. The true way is to pick up a crawfish ,suck at its body to drink the brine, pull the tail away from the body, eat the sludge-y meat inside the head, crack the claws for tiny morsels of flesh, and finally, crack open the shell for those juicy tails. Not the prettiest of meals you’ve ever had.
I guess it’s a bit of an acquired taste, let alone technique! Crawfish have a more particular flavour, I think, and if you pre-buy in Sweden (more common these days, unfortunately), their brine is a taste-tingly mixture of sweet-salt water (and no, as if you wash that flavour away, don’t be a heathen).
And I have rarely seen whole crawfish for sale in the UK, or at least where I’ve been living, so when I was compiling the online food shopping for that week as a treat (and making it easy) for when we got back late from Sweden, I was so excited to see them stocking whole boxes of them from the Swedish section (though I do believe IKEA stock them frozen in some stores if you’re in the UK).
So, I was gonna make my parents lump it, and have them anyway…when I decided to change things up.
I’d seen recipes for crawfish boils, but also many that were Chinese, many of them consisting of the crawfish cooked in a spicy broth. I had bought already cooked crawfish, so I decided to make my broth, and dunk them in at the last minute or so. They still soaked up all the good taste of the broth, but didn’t turn into a spongy mess like when crawfish are typically overcooked.
And…I managed to convince my parents. They weren’t too happy about the mess of eating this dish (if you thought eating crawfish as they are is messy enough, you don’t know enough), but they did say they much preferred eating crawfish this way. Result! 😀
The end broth is earthy and tangy, with a hint of spice in the background that kind of creeps up…delicious. We served it with potato cakes (rosti), and fresh salad. Perfect for late summer evenings. Some crispy toasted sourdough would go well as well…Serves 4 as a light dinner.
roughly 20 crawfish, already cooked
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp of grated ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp of tomato paste
1 litre of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of white wine
Heat up a heavy-based iron pot (or large heavy-based saucepan), and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the onion, and fry gently, letting them go pale and translucent (but not browning yet), and add the chilli, ginger and garlic. Stir quickly so nothing burns, but letting everything get fragrant.
Add the tomato paste, and continue to stir, mixing everything together. Now add the vegetable stock, and turn down the heat to simmer, and cover. Let it simmer for about half an hour. Give everything a bit of a stir, add the wine, and put the heat up to medium, and let bubble away for about five minutes. Turn down the heat again, and let it simmer for another ten minutes.
Just before serving, add the crawfish, and stir them about. Keep them in there for about two minutes, and then serve immediately.