I promise after this post that I will cut down on writing about all the icky fear factor stuff we do in cooking class and write about some of the pretty things we make – like homemade sausage – promise, promise, promise….
Today was another one of those overly complicated recipes that involves disembowling live langoustines (crawfish). Why is it necessary to disembowl them alive, one might ponder? Because otherwise their fat black intestine gets cooked in with their sweet flesh and it’s very hard to remove and it doesn’t look pretty.
When I got my bowl of crawfish they looked dead, which was a big relief. Even still, it took several deep sighs just to pick one up from the bowl. My Dad used to take me to sci-fi movies when I was a kid and crustaceans bring back nightmares from Alien, Star Trek, and all those other exo-skeletal movie monsters – blech! I finally grabbed one by the back and tossed it onto my cutting board with disgust. It had it’s little hard tail curled under, so, avoiding it’s pinchers, I carefully flattened it out. This, of course, woke him up.
Holding down the top part of it’s thorax with my left hand, I used my right to twist the middle tail fin like a key and then pull out the intestine. At first it didn’t make any movement and I thought– great it doesn’t feel a thing! – but then it started doing this jumpy-back dance. Well, wouldn’t you if some one ripped out your intestines? The chef came over and finished disembowling my crawfish for me. I think he must have seen my eyes fill with tears while watching my little langostine twist on the cutting board. It wasn’t the taking out the intestine that was so hard, but watching them flip about on my cutting board afterward.
I quickly sautéed them in hot oil and butter to kill them as quickly as possible. The recipe is not one of my favorites so I won’t bore you with the fish dumplings or the crayfish sauce thickened with béchamel. I just wanted to share my experience today….