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Preparing Signal Crayfish

jeff
by jeff
Moving on from the catching of Signal Crays, I have heard people mention that you should not eat them for the 48hours after you catch them, can anyone add any weight to this story? Apparently they taste better if they haven't fed for 2 days?

I am due out on a conservation trip with my brother along with some chaps from the Lea Valley regional park to look for Viviparous Lizards in May and wanted to catch a few Crays for lunch but hearing this makes me wonder if a rethink is due...???
Must get more foodie things done!
last edited on
Oneforthepot
#1
by Oneforthepot
I cook mine straight off - I get back from fishing and get the pan boiling. The crayfish go straight in in batches of ten for four minutes. Once cool enough to handle I start by removing the claws, then the head. Next to come off is the tail um fluke or whatever it's called.

Next remove the meat from the tail and - this is the important bit, remove the intestine - you can slit along the back or pull off the sort of flap of flesh that covers it. The intestine is just a blackish tube, if you tear it simply rinse of the junk under the tap.

Now head to the claws, snap off the smaller section by bending it back, smack the main body of the claw with a mallet, stone, whatever, remove the meat and remove the shard of hard stuff that resides in the middle.

Takes me about 3 hours to do a days fishing worth.

The only benefit of starving them for 48h is you don't have to remove the intestine. I regularly catch them and grill them on the river bank with a little charcoal brazier I've made for the purpose. For grilling I spike them, remove the head etc etc and just cook the tail with the shell on. Claws get dropped onto the charcoal untiul steam comes out of the top.

Incidentaly spiking doesn't seem to kill them, slicing a severed crayfish head in half doesn't even have much effect.

I've no idea if the coral is edible, I've always assumed not
Oneforthepot
jeff
#2
by jeff
Cheers Geez,

Did wonder if it was just a digestion thing to starve them first... THe digestion track is the same as removing it from a prawn from the sounds of it so that's not a problem... I want to have a boil up on the bank on the day on my little gas stove, looking forward to it!!!
Must get more foodie things done!
dougal
#3
by dougal
Jeff, is that the Lea Valley, East London? Personally, I wouldn't be brave enough to eat anything out of there... I'm thinking "industrial", "pollution", "heavy metals", etc
I'd guess that in polluted waters, their meat would accumulate the nasties, (nevermind whats in the digestive tract), especially if the crays are eating other things that have themselves accumulated pollutants. In Minemata (sp?), Japan, IIRC the mercury was first accumulated in mussels, which were eaten by something, which was then eaten by Tuna, which the people made the mistake of eating...
And it seems these ruddy crays will eat anything and everything thats convenient...
westbay
#4
by westbay
Caught hundreds of crays last year, but after all the messing around, cooking cleaning, de-veining etc I found them a bit lacking in the old taste department. I bit like hoping for lobster and getting soggy blotting-paper.
jeff
#5
by jeff
Dougal,

Same River Lea but much futher up into Hertfordshire where it is a great deal cleaner!!!

Westbay,

I am suprized that you say this about their flavour, I have mainly had glowing reports regarding their taste... How did you cook them? I know that you can easily over-cook small crustatians such as Longestean (spelling?) etc and their flavour can quickly deteriate...

Cheers,
Jeff
Must get more foodie things done!
Behemoth
#6
by Behemoth
Browsing through cable last night I stopped on 'Screaming Reels' where they were catching lbs and lbs of crayfish in the Serpentine where they are a pest. they took them up to Billinsgate and sold them. They probably belong to the Queen though so I wouldn't...
Erikht
#7
by Erikht
The coral is not only edible, it's the best part of any crustatians. I don't think crayfish build up toxins the same way as mollusks.
Oneforthepot
#8
by Oneforthepot
I've always found the flavour of them great , it is milder than their marine counterparts, probably due to the lesser salt content but I'll happily eat them plain boiled or curried or anything.

I'll give the coral a try this season, I'm not fond of it as is ( in fact I hate scallop corals ) but it would go nicely in a batch of potted crayfish.

Oneforthepot
nordicknight
#9
by nordicknight
And, fer gods sake, the only thing to go into the water with the crayfish is salt, white pepper and tons n tons of fresh dill..

jeff
#10
by jeff
Prefer good old fashioned curly Parsley myself
Must get more foodie things done!
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