Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Crawdad Sliders with Hot Sauce and Fennel Frond Mayo

...or, ZOMG! Crawfish Boil 2008!

Now! With updated soundtrack!

Our good friends Jeremy and Alicia have an annual crawfish boil, since Jeremy is from New Orleans and they have what might actually be a full acre in North Portland. Okay, this wasn't really my food event to post, but you know how it is: you walk into a party and you own it. You just have to. Besides, Alicia always upstages me in the tits department (her ass is pretty stellar too), so it's only fair that I try and cook at her party.

This year it was 100 degrees out (no joke), so instead of baking cornbread and making my famous skillet beans™, Scott and I spent the day at the beach and just brought a sack of soft potato rolls, a jar of dill pickle slices and a bottle of mayo so people could make crawdad sliders.

Let them eat sliders!

When I was a kid of about 5 or 6, my brother and I would hop the fence at the edge of the apartment's parking lot and catch crawdads in Johnson Creek. My mother was wise to not ever let us eat our catch, as Johnson Creek is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 303(d) list for just about every pollutant, including, but not limited to, benzene and fecal coliform (E. coli). These lovely little freshwater crustaceans on the table, however, were farm-raised and overnighted from Nawlins: safe and delightful to eat.

To eat a crawfish (aka crawdads, crayfish, or mudbugs), simply break off the tail, gently flex and break off the uropod and telson (the tail flap thingy at the end) and slowly pull out the intestine in one long string (it may be full of crawdad poo). Doesn't this just sound delicious? If you can't get the intestine out in this step, just pry the meat out of the shell as you would a tiny lobster, but then you'll have to devein the tail meat with your thumbnail before popping the meat in your mouth, or you'll get muddy grit in your teeth.

Crawfish meat tastes like a rich, buttery prawn, but with a slightly meatier texture (less "bouncy" in the mouth, if that makes any sense). If you're keepin' it real, suck the good stuff out of the head. I was not drunk enough to suck orange goo out of the head of a bottom feeder in 100-degree heat.

While Jones and Gordo plucked succulent meat from the tails, I hoarded all of the heads in a ziplock so they wouldn't get flies. The following day I simmered two gallon-sized bags of heads in two bottles of Two-Buck Chuck Chardonnay for a couple hours, then strained and simmered again until I had only a few cups of sticky-rich crawfish stock for later étouffée.

This went on for three batches or so. In other words, an asston of crawfish.

People weren't really catching on to the whole slider thing, so I mixed some hot sauce and mayo, and picked some of the fronds off the giant shrub of fennel (then picked into little bits) in the yard to make a zesty, herbed mayo. I mixed this with some of the tail meat that I painstakingly harvested, and loaded the mixture onto split potato rolls with a couple slices of pickle. Young bamboo twigs made excellent picks to hold the little sammies together. Enjoy with an ice-cold Abita Turbodog (but not the Purple Haze, it tastes like bong water).

I changed the widget on my sidebar to showcase some of my favorite Nawlins funk. I did this just for you! You can't say I don't care. Thanks to Alicia and Jeremy for a great party (as always)!

Happy summer, y'all!


eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Zomg indeed! Those crawdad sliders look totally awesome!

Manggy said...

Happy summer to you! That is a honking crapload of crawfish (crayfish?) up there. I've never tasted one (I dunno if it's even available here), but your description sounds really good :)

Peter M said...

I like how you "fast, purge"...through a crawdaddy boil! lol

I love swamp-bug...suck the juice out of the head & shit.

Alicia Foodycat said...

What a sandwich!

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Bong water! Your descriptions are the best! Boy that is a lot of crawfish! And I love the sandwich with the fennel! Good thinking Heather

Heather said...

JS - I think I want to eat all of my seafood in slider form from now on.

Manggy - You probably have some other delicious little crustacean like mud crabs in the Phillipines, yeah?

Mr. The Greek - Seriously, you'd be amazed at what hot weather does to my appetite for head-juice.

Foodycat - Indeed!

Petah - If you ever dare to taste a New Orleans beer after it's been skunked in hot weather, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It tasted like it was made from Katrina floodwaters.

glamah16 said...

Oh I love Abita. They donated some beer to a event I planned a few years back. And I love your sliders. Good thinking saving the heads for a broth. We foodies are always thinking.

Jen said...

Yum... these totally look amazing!

giz said...

I so need to take a trip to the south. We never see this kind of food here and I'm so jealous. What fun it looks like. You guys know how to party.

Syd said...

I live right here in crawfish country...WHY haven't I thought of this before? **doink**

If you post some T & A pics of you and Alicia, I'll gladly be an impartial judge. I'm nice like that. :P

Leigh said...

those crawdad sliders look the shiz, and also 'Crawdad Sliders' makes an excellent band name. "ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for....CRAWDAD SLIDERS"!!!!

cookiecrumb said...

I sucked the orange goo out once. I'm pretty brave, but P'TOO!

Jeez, first the pig and now this? Never mind me. I'll just sit here in the dark eating my canned beans and Pilot crackers. Oh, no more Pilot crackers? Jeez.

Emily said...

Crawdad sliders sound good...real good.
I don't know if I could suck the orange goo out of their heads. I wonder if it's really worth it.

Good luck with the etoufee.

I like the music! It's all jazzy and makes me want to tap my toes.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, a new beer to try out. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Wow Heather! You take food to a whole new level! Love crawfish but am way too lazy to eat them very often. Hubby loves them though and eats them whenever the chance comes up! Love the reduction you did for étouffée!

peter said...

I second what Syd said. The Meters are the shit. Do you like MMW? Now I want to make a bongwater reduction to prove you wrong.

Heather said...

Courtney - Yes, they make some good ones. And beer always tastes better when it's free.

Jen - The only better than sammiches are tiny sammiches! That you can stuff in your face!

Giz - Yeah, well when we get gravy and cheese curd-coated French fries I'll have no reason to come north. ;)

Syd - You so nasty. I like that.

Leigh - lol @ band name. I'd rather eat these than listen to them! :D

Cookie - To be fair, the crawfish boil was merely a party I attended. I'm not a machine!

Em - I don't think it's worth it. It's better in a stock pot, as far as I'm concerned. Glad you like the tunes!

Ian - Heh, it's not bad, but I'd take one of those German beers over it any day.

Judy - These things are definitely a lot of work. It took me and Scott an hour standing over the sink to get enough meat to fill a small tub for the étouffée!

Jube - You so nasty. Kind of like Funky Meters Soul. Yeah, I used to be really into MMW, but then it seemed like all their albums sounded the same. Saw them live once.

Thistlemoon said...

Those sliders look great. I am sad to say I have never eaten crawdads right out of the shell - always seems like too much work, for too little reward. But I would so eat those sliders!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

No, crawdad poo does not sound delicious.

The rest, quite probably.

Nina Timm said...

Holy cow, this looks amazing! Is this what the Aussies call yabbees? We just have regular crayfish here and almost very expensive.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Nice. I have been searching for live crawdads at the local farmer's markets (which do have Sacramento Delta 'dads on occasion), but y'all sure did get an asston of 'em!

Too bad you are so delicate and could not bear to suck the heads -- gotta love the orange goo! (it's fat, BTW)

Anonymous said...

It looks fantastic!

Just Cook It said...

Aw man, I just love these little critters. Not had them that fresh for yars though. Very jealous. Thanks for dropping by the blog too.

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