Coast Cuisine - March 2016
The Bugs We Love to Eat
Call 'em mudbugs or crawfish, these spicy crustaceans are one of the most sought after foods on the coast!
- by Lisa Monti
Owner Kathy Necaise said crawfish are Seafood Etc.’s biggest seller right now. “People go crazy over crawfish,” she said.
Cost is all about supply and demand, and everything depends on temperature and rainfall. As more crawfish hit the market, the price, of course, goes down. But when you have a craving for crawfish, price really isn’t a serious consideration for something less than $5 a pound.
The answer to the question of how to cook crawfish comes in many variations, like gumbo, and some experts like to hold back on revealing their secret ingredients or techniques. Basically, crawfish are boiled in a large pot with liquid and dry seasonings plus accompaniments like corn on the cob, potatoes, onions, garlic and sausage. Sometimes people throw in unorthodox sides like a whole pineapple, but purists stick with the basics.
Melvin “Cuz” Barnes has a special spice mix that he says makes his boiled crawfish popular with customers at Cuz’s seafood restaurant on Mississippi 603. “I cook them like you do at home with all the seasonings, garlic, celery, onions, lemons, corn and potatoes. I just keep it very basic,” he said.
Customers often ask him how they can boil crawfish at home. “I do tell a lot of people how to do it but the only way they’ll taste like mine is with the seasoning. Sometimes I’ll sell a little bit of it.”
By a happy coincidence for seafood lovers and sellers, the Lenten season falls within crawfish season, which runs to midsummer.
Seafood Etc.’s Facebook posting shows the alignment:
“ASH WEDNESDAY SPECIAL: Live crawfish ... $2.50 lb. (only today till we run out)! Call to reserve a sack for supper.”
“Lent’s a good time of the year for all of us in the seafood business,” Barnes said.
Rouse’s seafood department boils crawfish every day, and on Saturdays it’s not unusual for the Diamondhead store to sell 200 to 300 pounds to customers who line up to purchase their share.
Sheri Hale at Claiborne Hill in Waveland said the store’s seafood department boils crawfish every day and they typically boil 25 sacks on Saturday and on Sunday. She recommends customers call ahead to place their orders to avoid disappointment.
So far, things are looking good for those craving crawfish. Some observers are predicting the best season in several years, thanks to a mild winter. “The sizes are really nice and it looks like it will be a good season,” said Barnes.
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