Tasty, tiny crawfish make for a fun family meal. You can cook fresh crawfish a variety of ways, serving up the tiny shellfish for a festive dinner for friends and family. Boil, steam, grill or bake crawfish and you'll wind up with a zesty, tangy seafood centerpiece for a delicious meal. Clean live, whole crawfish before cooking by soaking them in several changes of clean, cool water.
Boiling crawfish is a classic and easy way to cook the tiny shellfish to perfection. Bring a very large pot of water to boil and stir in a package of prepared crawfish boil spices, which you can find at most grocery stores. Add the crawfish to the pot and boil the shellfish for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook the crawfish for another 15 minutes. You can add potatoes and corn to the boiling liquid when you add the crawfish for a traditional boiled seafood dinner.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add olive oil and any combination of seasonings to the pan, such as garlic and dried or fresh herbs. Add whole, live crawfish to the pan and pour white wine or water into the skillet. Cover the pan and steam the crawfish for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, stir the crawfish and liquid in the pan, then cover the pan and steam for another 10 minutes. Serve the crawfish whole or pull them apart and use the tail meat to make a crawfish-based soup or salad topped with a creamy dressing.
Give crawfish an extra flavor boost by cooking them on a hot and smoky grill. Heat a gas or charcoal grill until the temperature in the grill reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place whole crawfish directly on the hot grill grates, close the grill lid and cook the crawfish for 15 to 20 minutes. Open the grill and flip the crawfish using a pair of tongs halfway through the cooking time. Serve the grilled crawfish on their own, drizzled with lemon juice, or use the tail meat to give flavor and protein to a pasta dish.
Let the oven do the work to easily cook up a batch of crawfish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour a layer of Kosher salt into the bottom of a large, lidded pot. Place the pot in the hot oven for 15 minutes to get the salt nice and hot. Place whole crawfish on the salt, cover the pot and slide it into the oven for 15 minutes. You can place any kind of spices or herbs you'd like in the bed of salt to infuse the crawfish with extra flavor.
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Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.