With crawfish season in full swing, many face the daunting task of peeling a crawfish for the first time. Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans that thrive in swamps and ditches, and are often boiled with potatoes and corn during the spring time. They look like tiny lobsters, but they have less meat and lots of Louisiana cajun flavor.
Every year, Tulane University puts on Crawfest, a one-day festival with over 20,000 pounds of these little crustaceans. In preparation for this year’s Crawfest, we learned how to peel these guys from New Orleans natives. Here are 5 simple steps to peeling and picking your crawfish like a preaux.
1. Hold the Head
Hold the head with one hand and extend the tail all the way out.
2. Twist the Head Off
Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the head and twist until the head separates from the tail.
3. Grab the Tail
Put the head aside and focus on the tail, to get all the best meat. #SpoonTip: If you are feeling bold, suck the head for extra flavor.
4. Start Peeling
Use your thumb and start peeling from the wide part of the tail. Peel layer by layer to loosen the meat away from the tail. The amount of layers you have to peel depends on the crawfish, so be patient. Be careful, if the crawfish are juicy this step may get a little dirty.
5. Pinch the Tail
Pinch the tail and wiggle the meat out.
Do you get it? Because its a crustacean? Celebrate because you can finally taste the fruit of your labor.
As you peel more crawfish, it’ll only get easier and easier. The faster you peel, the faster you can get your hands on another one. Before you know it, you’ll be out of crawdaddies and full for days.