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Mississippi Crawfish Season Appeals to Everyone
Traveling through the Deep South means soaking in all of the scenery and culture that the area has to offer. It also means amazing and interesting foods. No trip to Mississippi during the spring would be complete without a sampling of crawfish. And just as Mississippi residents are unique, so are the ways to prepare this simple mudbug.
Don't be frightened off by the crawfish's odd appearance. Crawfish are often said to resemble a tiny lobster. Crawfish come from humble beginnings, living in the swamps and muddy rivers of Mississippi. Many of the crawfish which are caught and eaten are wild, but more often than not, today, the crawfish are raised and harvested specifically for consumption.
They are caught in nets and traps and are then cooked in a variety of ways, the most common being the Mississippi Crawfish Boil. A crawfish boil is a tradition in Mississippi, a gathering of friends and family for a meal. Crawfish are boiled in large pots with special seasonings (often each cook has his or her own blend of seasonings known only to family members) and corn and potatoes are added to the water with the crawfish.
The entire mixture is dumped onto a newspaper-covered picnic table for family-style eating. Guests stand around the table to consume the crawfish and vegetables, spicy crawfish juices covering their hands. It is a great communal setting that happens around the state over and again during the crawfish season.
There is such a lure to the enjoyment of the crawfish boil that there are entire festivals in Mississippi dedicated to them. The Crawfish Music Festival at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi is just one example. Find other crawfish festivals here. Crawfish season wonderfully happens to overlap in the spring with the Mardi Gras season in Mississippi, as well as with Easter and often with Mother's Day, all good reasons for parties.
Tourist attractions like the Isle® of Capri Casinos in Vicksburg are certain to have boiled crawfish on the menu at one or more of the restaurants on site.
Restaurants are not immune to the lure of the crawfish. Even the fanciest of locations will offer a boiled crawfish platter during crawfish season. Guests will be served a large platter of bright red crawfish with potatoes and corn and plenty of napkins (some places will provide a plastic bib to protect diner's clothing from the tasty crawfish juices).
Not all restaurants will limit their crawfish offerings to simple platters of boiled crawfish. Many chefs take the crawfish season as an opportunity to show off their culinary skills, trying new and innovative recipes highlighting the crawfish tails.
Mississippi home cooks are in for a treat during crawfish season as well. Any crawfish not eaten during the crawfish boil are peeled and the tail meat saved for recipes later in the week (and if a boil isn't planned, peeled crawfish tails can be purchased from a seafood shop).
All good Southern cooks have recipes passed down from their mamas and their aunts and their grandmamas. Everyone has their favorite pasta dish made with crawfish tails, and most cooks have a special recipe for making hush puppies with crawfish tails mixed into the batter.
But if one tires of crawfish etouffee or crawfish jambalaya or crawfish pie (probably impossible), there are always new recipes to try.
What about a crawfish bisque? A smooth, creamy soup, crawfish bisque is full of that spicy crawfish taste. Each cook changes it up a bit to suit his or her taste by either blending the crawfish tails completely or leaving a few lumps of meat in the soup. Serve the soup with a homemade cornbread, and everyone would be thrilled to have dinner at your house.
Or maybe you could put the crawfish tails in the cornbread for a wonderful surprise. This crawfish dressing seems like the perfect reason to have a big family gathering, as if Mississippi families need a reason to gather together.
Crawfish season means spring in Mississippi is more than just trees in bloom. It's an explosion of taste and a unique way to quell your hunger. There's a reason Mississippi residents and visitors love the humble mudbug. It's the perfect freshwater crustacean — flavorful, full of protein, versatile in cooking manner, relatively inexpensive, and flavorful (we said that twice for a reason).
Starting now, we’re serving crawfish every weekend on our Farmer’s Pick Buffet®! Come on in and go cray-z!