Rock Lobster!

More Than A B-52S Song, Less Than A Lobster

Laura Marrich
2 min read
(Paul Sessa)
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They’re called crawfish. Or is it a crayfish? Some people even go so far as to call them mudbugs. It just depends on where you live, really. In France, les écrivisses are the height of haute cuisine on many a Michelin-starred menu. Here, under the molting cottonwoods of the Rio Grande valley, we just call them crawdads. Dangle a chicken leg over an irrigation ditch and they’ll come skittering towards you, ready for dinner.

Your dinner, that is.

Crawdads are small, freshwater crustaceans. And, like their briny lobster cousins, crawdad tails contain an oyster of sweet, succulent white meat. (Though in lieu of the subtle taste of the sea, crawdads are prized for their slightly gamey flavor.) The trouble is, it takes an awful lot of work to get to it.

The crawdad is a very corporeal creature; lots of little arms and legs to flail about and pinch its potential captors. Even in death, there’s something intimidating about them. They look vaguely satanic. To the uninitiated, that’s not exactly appetizing.

Most Americans don’t like the idea of having to kill their own dinner either. Just last month, Whole Foods announced it had ceased carrying live lobsters. The company cited a “commitment to humane treatment and quality of life for animals" as its reason. Presumably, having someone else do all the dirty work for you–as in the preprocessed frozen lobster and other meat products they still carry–is perfectly humane. (The way I see it, at least the live ones have a fighting chance for escape along the way.)

Don’t be scared. If the thought of catching and killing your own is too morbid, you can purchase shelled, frozen crawdad tails from Nantucket Shoals Seafood Market (5415 Academy NE, 821-5787) for about $12 a pound. And if you’re a seasoned ditch jumper, roll your jeans up and start collecting–we’re having crawdads for dinner!

Eating In

Eating In

Eating In

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