The ones I caught were in the Deschutes River in Oregon, and Crawfish Lake in WA and they were delicious - esp. if you build a fire on a large rock along the river and boil them up on the spot and they are delicious.
Who knew they were such an international taste sensation!
Crayfish are eaten all over the world. Like other edible crustaceans, only a small portion of the body of a crayfish is edible. In most prepared dishes, such as soups, bisques and étouffées, only the tail portion is served. At crawfish boils or other meals where the entire body of the crayfish is presented, other portions, such as the claw meat, may be eaten.
Claws of larger boiled specimens are often pulled apart to access the meat inside. Another favourite is to suck the head of the crayfish, as seasoning and flavour can collect in the fat of the boiled interior.
A common myth is that a crawfish with a straight tail died before it was boiled and is not safe to eat. In reality, crawfish that died before boiling can have curled tails as well as straight, as can those that were alive, and may very well be fine to eat. Boiled crawfish which died before boiling are safe to eat if they were kept chilled before boiling and were not dead for a long time. (This does not mean that a sack of crawfish that are all dead should be boiled.) A much better test than the straight tail as to the edibility of any crawfish is the tail meat itself; if it is mushy, it is usually an indication that it should be avoided.
Like all crustaceans, crayfish are not kosher because they are aquatic animals that do not have both fins and scales. They are therefore not eaten by observant Jews. (I wonder if this might suggest they are not halal as well)Australia
Australia is home to genus Cherax which is distinct from European, Asian and North American species. Two of the Australian edible crayfish are the freshwater yabby or yabbie (C. albidus-destructor) and the red claw (C. quadricarinatus). The common yabby is closest in size to the North American species, but is not considered to be commercially viable outside Australia because of its relatively slow growth and small size. The freshwater yabbie is often confused with shrimp or prawns, in part because the name yabby also applies to a species of marine ghost shrimp that is inedible and is only usable as bait. The “red claw” crayfish are twice the size of North American crawfish and they contain 30% edible “meat” compared to P. clarkii’s 15%. Other Australian species are fairly rare and thus usually are not used for food. Their slow growth generally makes them inefficient for aquaculture.China
The culinary popularity of crayfish swept across mainland China in the late 1990s. Crayfish is generally served with Mala flavour (a combined flavour of Sichuan pepper and hot chili) or otherwise plainly steamed whole, to be eaten with a preferred sauce. In Beijing, the ma la flavoured crayfish (麻辣小龙虾) is shortened to “ma xiao” (麻小) and is often enjoyed with beer in a hot mid-summer evening.France
In France, dishes with a base or garnish of crayfish (écrevisse) are frequently described as à la Nantaise.Mexico
The Mexican crayfish locally named acocil was a very important nutrition source of the ancient Mexican Aztec culture. Other regional names for crayfish are chacales, chacalines and langostas de río. Today, crayfish is consumed mainly boiled, similarly to crayfish dishes in other parts of the world, or prepared with typically Mexican sauces and condiments, particularly in central and southern Mexico. Traditional preparations include soups, tacos and “cocktails” similar to shrimp dishes.Nigeria (Might be of particular interest to Kurt!!!)
Crayfish are usually smoked, and occasionally sun-dried, and they form an indispensable food item in the diet of the people of the entire southern states in particular and Nigeria as a whole. It is a core of Nigerian cookingRussia and Ukraine
In Russia and Ukraine, crayfish (раки, sing. рак) are a traditional seasonal appetizer that is used as an accompaniment to beer and liquor. Although native varieties tend to be larger (usually, Astacus astacus), rampant freshwater pollution and years of overfishing largely limit availability to imports—most from Armenia, Kazakhstan and China. Prior to cooking, the crustaceans are soaked in water or milk, then boiled live for 7–15 minutes in rapidly boiling salted water with additional ingredients, such as carrots, onion, dill, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns. More extravagant preparations include such ingredients as white wine, beer, sour cream, cloves, caraway seed, coriander seed, chili peppers, stinging nettle, etc. Russians rarely incorporate crayfish into complex dishes and, unlike other cultures, they usually consume the entire crayfish, short of the shell and the antennae. Russian and Ukrainian fascination with crayfish goes back quite far and generates considerable lore. An old proverb: “When there is no fish, even crayfish is a fish.” A proverb of more recent vintage: “Summer heat is thirst; thirst is beer; beer is crayfish!” There are as many myth associated with picking the freshest live crayfish as there are for picking ripe watermelons. Russians and Ukrainians, generally, will not cook fresh crayfish if the crustaceans are dead or perceptibly lethargic. (But pre-boiled frozen specimens are acceptable.)Scandinavia
Crayfish is a popular dish in Sweden and Finland, and is by tradition primarily consumed during the fishing season in August. The boil is typically flavored with salt, sugar, ale, and large quantities of stems and flowers of the dill plant. While most Americans eat them warm, the Swedes and Finns normally eat them cold. One traditional Swedish and Finnish practice is to eat crayfish with a vodka chaser. The catch of domestic freshwater crayfish, Astacus astacus, and even of a transplanted American species, Pacifastacus leniusculus, is very limited, and to satisfy demand, the majority of what is consumed has to be imported. Sales depended on imports from Turkey for several decades, but after a decline in supply, China and the United States are today the biggest sources of import.Spain
In Spain, crayfish is called cangrejo de río (lit. “river crab”). They used to be widely consumed, especially in Castile and León and Aragon, but over-fishing and the introduction of non-native crayfish species (e.g. Procambarus clarkii, commonly called cangrejo americano) led to a dramatic decline in crayfish population. Nowadays they remain as a seasonal delicacy, usually stewed in tomato sauce, although fishing the native crayfish is strictly forbidden since the species is nearly extinct. Instead of the native crayfish, it is common to fish Procambarus clarkii or Pacifastacus leniusculus, also present in most of the Spanish rivers.
Louisiana supplies 98% of the crayfish (referred to locally as crawfish or crawdad) harvested in the United States. In 1987, Louisiana produced 90% of the crayfish harvested in the world, 70% of which were consumed locally. In 2007, the Louisiana crawfish harvest was about 54,800 ton, almost all of it from aquaculture.
About 70%–80% of crayfish produced in Louisiana are Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crawfish), with the remaining 20%–30% being Procambarus zonangulus (white river crawfish). Despite the large-scale production in Louisiana, most frozen crayfish available in supermarkets in other states are Chinese imports. (figures - what isn't these days)
Louisiana crawfish are usually boiled live in a large pot with heavy seasoning (salt, cayenne pepper, lemon, garlic, bay leaves, etc.) and other items such as potatoes, corn on the cob, onions, garlic, mushrooms, turkey necks, and sausage. There are many differing methods used to season a crawfish boil, and an equal number of opinions on which one is correct. They are generally served at a gathering known as a crawfish boil. Other popular dishes in the Cajun and Creole cuisines of Louisiana include crawfish étouffée, fried crawfish, crawfish pie, crawfish dressing, crawfish bread and crawfish beignets. (YUM BEIGNETS !!!!)
This crayfish is recommending: EAT MORE TUNA!