We are in the middle of crawfish season, and I couldn’t be happier. I love most iterations of crawfish dining and take every opportunity to try just about anything that they throw at me.
In the Delta, crawfish festivals flourish in the spring. Every weekend there’s some place to eat mass quantities of mud bugs put together by huge operations like Ducks Unlimited or smaller versions like the one in the town of Wilson, Ark. I took some out-of-town friends to the Overton Square Crawfish Festival in Memphis a couple of weeks ago.
Beyond that, a trip to New Orleans is not complete unless I can get a cup of etouffee at Mothers. In Texas, Pappadeaux is my go to place for that crawfish gravy.
I’ll try etouffee anywhere that has it, at least once. Some places, I don’t ever need more than one cup, but at least I’m willing to try it. I like the deep, dark roux. If it looks like chicken gravy, I probably won’t be back.
When I was a kid we’d catch as many crawfish as we could in the canal behind my grandparents’ farm. In Arizona, that’s not a whole lot. We’d haul them back to the house on their farm. We’d play with them in the feedlot water trough for a while and then months later find them dried out after we had forgotten them, and the water had evaporated.
We’d go to the lakes on the Salt River and I’d chase them in the water until they skittled backwards into the depths.
Eating them was never a problem. I have always been an adventurous seafood eater — it runs in the family. Dad would get seafood of all kinds from the Gulf of California in Mexico. I’d sit on the beach with my grandmother in California and eat roasted clams we dug up in the waves. Oyster stew is a Christmas Eve tradition in my mother’s family.
But, I digress, mudbugs may be my favorite delicacy.
I once decided to take a short hike along the levee just across the bridge outside of St. Francesville, La. By the time I was through, my boots had grown into huge, muddy clods from stepping on the crawfish mud mounds.
I’ve known George LaCour for maybe 20 years and was thrilled the first time he asked if I wanted to see his crawfish operation in Pointe Coupee Parish. After the tour, we later headed over to New Roads where I had, what else, etouffee and fried oysters.
The last time I checked, prices for crawfish were up. George said that the season has been good, so far.
I hope I get to eat some of George’s crawdads this weekend as I head to one of the festivals. Chances are good that I will love every one of them.