Anyone who has ever boiled crawfish knows that events, after the boil, fall one of three ways:
- You ordered the exact amount of crawfish, everyone is satisfied and there’s nothing left to peel.
- There’s enough left to peel to justify dirtying up your hands again. You and some really nice friends or family get to work.
- There’s no way you’re peeling another tail because you’re fingers are stained and sore, and you really just need to go lie down.
We found ourselves facing #2 this weekend after boiling more than 100 pounds for my husband’s family, so three of us sat down and took on the remainder. It yielded about four cups of tails, plenty for a crawfish-centric main course for 4 to 6, and definitely worth the trouble.
There have been plenty of times when I’ve peeled leftover tails and the haul wasn’t so generous, but I do it anyway. No matter how many tails you’re left with, you can find something fun to do with them, from frittatas and savory pies, to cold salads to classic entrées.
Here are two ways to enjoy crawfish tails after the boil.
Use your favorite etoufée recipe, but keep the following in mind:
Making etoufée with leftover tails is different than using packaged partially-cooked tail meat, of course, because the tails are fully cooked, and because you’re cooking without the delectable orange fat that comes in packages. Reduce the amount of cook time for the tails so that they don’t become chewy and overcooked. And add color with the addition of chopped red bell pepper when you sauté your other aromatic vegetables at the beginning of the recipe. Or add a little fresh chopped tomato at the end. Bay leaves are also a nice accompaniment during the cooking process because they add natural sweetness and flavor.
Bruschettas are little palettes for your creativity, so try constructing some with a few cooked tails. Rub baguette slices with fresh garlic then pile on sliced tomato, crawfish tails and feta crumbles. Sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Top with fresh herbs or spinach slivers.
And have fun with these links to other great ways to use crawfish tails:
Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Crawfish Recipes
Making the most of the boil, Nola.com, March 2016
New Orleans Times Picayune, April 2015