Of the hundreds of different species of crawfish worldwide, over 300 kinds can be found in North America, primarily in the southeastern United States. What looks like a small lobster in a variety of sizes and colors, crawfish are a delicious food source, and are a staple in southern and Cajun cuisine.
Though there are multiple species of crawfish intended for human consumption, the Red Swamp Crawfish is the most popular. As a species that was once introduced outside of its native habitat for the intention of sport fishing bait, the red swamp crawfish is now considered an invasive species in many areas outside it's original southern grounds. As their name suggests, these crawfish prefer a swamp habitat in freshwater, void of any strong currents, allowing them to burrow for food, shelter, and moisture.
Crawfish are traditionally prepared for a crawfish boil, where they are combined with potatoes, sausage, and corn on the cob, all seasoned heavily with salt, Cayenne pepper, lemon, garlic, and bay leaves. They are boiled and eaten on a large picnic table with friends and family joining in for the feast. Most red swamp crawfish are between 2 and 5 inches in length, with a vibrant, dark red shell, which turns an even brighter red when cooked. Sometimes crawfish are also referred to as Louisiana crayfish, paying tribute to their southern roots, but also playfully called mud bugs. Now coming into their most abundant season, eat as many as you can since there are more than enough to go around! As you can see, we've cooked up a few here at Pierless to try, ready and waiting with drawn butter and our sleeves rolled up.