Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Crawfish Bisque & Stuffed Crawfish Heads, interrupted.

crawfish heads, unstuffed.

Crawfish Bisque is, for the most part served with stuffed crawfish heads. I've never stuffed a head or made a bisque so I decided to put the crawfish in my freezer towards this project.

I filled a pot, threw them in a pot and boiled them. This is what it looked like when they were finished cooking:
grey sludge water
Red Flag. Disgusting water.

As the recipe directed I then started to remove the meat from the tail and separate the head from the bodies. This went okay for the first 1 or 2. Crawfish are kind of gross. More giant insect than tiny lobster. The 3rd of 4th crawfish I picked out of the pot looked like it had lived at the bottom of a toxic puddle for most of its life. I scrubbed it and the grey scum that covered the bottom of its body came off a bit but it looked like a job for ajax. Tossed that one. Picked up the next, same thing. In fact, about 70% of these guys were partially covered in sludge.

dirty crawfish? normal?

Is this normal?

Was I being paranoid and crawfish phobic when I decided to toss the lot of them? Seriously, if this is normal, I would like to know.

I have eaten plenty of bottom feeders, but never before have I come across one that needed to be scrubbed with ajax.

They came from Freshdirect.

I would really like to stuff some crawfish heads when I find some good ones. Back burner for this recipe until then.

Here is the recipe that I was going to use:
CRAYFISH BISQUE: A CREOLE DISH
(La Cuisine Creole, 1885)

Parboil the fish, pick out the meat, and mince or pound it in a mortar until very fine; it will require about fifty crayfish.

Add to the fish one-third the quantity of bread soaked in milk, and a quarter of a pound of butter, also salt to taste, a bunch of thyme, two leaves of sage, a small piece of garlic and a chopped onion. Mix all well and cook ten minutes, stirring all the time to keep it from growing hard.

Clean the heads of the fish, throw them in strong salt and water for a few minutes and then drain them. Fill each one with the above stuffing, flour them, and fry a light brown.

Set a clean stewpan over a slow fire, put into it three spoonfuls of lard or butter, a slice of ham or bacon, two onions chopped fine; dredge over it enough flour to absorb the grease, then add a pint and a-half of boiling water, or better still, plain beef stock.

Season this with a bunch of thyme, a bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.

Let it cook slowly for half an hour, then put the heads of the crayfish in and let them boil fifteen minutes. Serve rice with it.

UPDATE:
My sister, who is a chef, tells me I was being paranoid.

36 comments:

T-D. Trosclair-Gonzalez said...

You can't freeze whole crawfish that way, or they'll be ruined. To make this dish, you need to start out with about 30 pounds of live crawfish. It's a major project that will require some help from others. You can find a much more comprehensive recipe on Chuck Taggart's Gumbo Pages web site, or on Chef John Folse's web site. Good luck on your next try!

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