Crawfish are sometimes referred to as freshwater lobsters. In the seafood world, it does hold its territory and is present in dishes liked by many. What’s not to love about something that can go into salads, pasta, chowder and many more preparations. It’s not something that people make every day so it makes sense that when people do get to make it they can have some leftover and want ideas on how to reheat their crawfish. You have a variety of heating methods depending on the original crawfish recipe. So what is crawfish and how do we tell it apart from other crustaceans?
What is crawfish?
Crawfish are crustaceans that live in freshwater and closely resemble lobsters. They are related to lobsters which are saltwater crustaceans. The name crawfish is popular in North America thanks to the influence of the American South. The name crayfish is used in the rest of the English speaking world. Both names crayfish and crawfish are derived from the French ecrevisse which was modified to crayfish. Crawfish are found all around the world and split into three families, two of them found in the Northern Hemisphere and the remaining ones in the Southern hemisphere. Crayfish are in enjoyed in many different ways. Some of the popular recipes are barbecued, mornay (cheese sauce and grilled), soups, chowder and boiled. Being seafood you need to be careful with the storage of your crawfish dishes before we can talk about reheating them.
Seafood has a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to how well it stores. So with crawfish, you will have the same considerations as you would with any other seafood. The first and most important thing you need to know is that you must refrigerate your crawfish within two hours of cooking it. As food cools the temperatures it reaches are a sweet spot for bacteria. Refrigerating it within 2 hours prevents the dish from reaching these viable temperatures. Also, be sure to store your crawfish in airtight containers whether these be resealable bags or Tupperware. It’s best to use plastic containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. You can expect your crawfish to keep for three to four days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer for best quality though it can keep indefinitely. If you freeze your crawfish it is best to thaw it in the refrigerator. This may be overnight or longer depending on the recipe. Now that we know how to store our crawfish safely we can discuss how to reheat crawfish.
You have the first option of reheating your crawfish in the microwave. Microwave reheating is frowned upon especially when it comes to reheating seafood. That said it’s also usually the quickest and easiest method of reheating, so if quick and easy are what you need, the microwave will do just fine. A lot will depend on how the crawfish was originally cooked but with microwave reheating its best to use a two or three-stage process. Say you want to reheat the food for three minutes, it is best to heat it in three separate one minute sessions with about thirty seconds of rest in between. This is what you will do for crawfish. You want to reheat food to 70 degrees Celsius and if you don’t have a food thermometer it is best to heat it to above eating temperature then cool it back down.
Another great way to reheat your crawfish dishes is on the stovetop. The stovetop method has the advantage of being quick and keeping the flavour of the crawfish full. This is best for grilled and boiled whole crawfish. You can also use this method to reheat your crawfish straight from the freezer without thawing. To pull this method off you will need a pot large enough to fit your crawfish in. Add a thin layer of your favourite crawfish spices to the pot and add a small amount of water. Now place your steaming basket in the pot. Make sure the liquid in the bottom of the pot does not touch the steaming basket. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts boiling you can place the crawfish in the steamer basket. Now cover the pot and steam the crawfish for four to six minutes and remove one to check if it has heated through and through. If not return to the steamer and check every thirty to forty-five seconds until they have completely heated. If you’re reheating frozen crawfish you will need to start checking on the ten-minute mark.
If your crawfish were boiled to begin with you have the option of reheating them through stovetop boiling. You need a large pot filled to three quarters with hot water. To this hot water, you can add your favourite crawfish spices. Once the water is at a full boil you can either add the crawfish straight into the pot or you can add them in a fryer basket. Allow the crawfish to boil for six to eight minutes and remove one to check the temperature after making sure that it’s heated through and through. You may have to return if they are not quite hot enough. Once you are satisfied just drain them in a colander and enjoy your crawfish.
Three great methods for reheating crawfish. If your crawfish are boiled or grilled whole all three methods are available to you. If you have crawfish in chowder or a stew you are better of using the microwave.