Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mud Bugs in the Tub

While similar in appearance, mud bugs are far cheaper to nosh upon than their distant ocean cousins; the lobsters. These freshwater dwelling delicacies compare quite favorably to any edible ocean critter with a taste very much like shrimp. The best thing about mud bugs is that they can be harvested by the bucketful from most bodies of water in the foothills area. Any lake, pond, river or stream is literally crawling with these crustaceans and they can be easily be caught by hand, net or trap. I typically use a minnow trap that I purchased from Ace Hardware but a homemade trap would work just as well. In the evening, I simply remove several fish heads from the Ziploc bag that I keep hidden in the back of the freezer (hidden because I really do not want to see a big bag of frozen fish heads every time I reach for the ice cream); bait the trap; and toss it into the creek in my back yard. Early the next morning I am rewarded with a nutritious and hearty breakfast. If I am not particularly hungry for mud bugs with my waffles, they can be kept alive and saved for later in the sink or bathtub. Do not put them outside, even in a covered container. They will be gone when you return as they seem to be a magnet for raccoons who also consider them a delicacy. To cook, simply bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and drop them in – just like a lobster. After boiling for about five minute they are ready to eat. Simply break off the tails and peel like a shrimp. The large front claws also contain some edible meat but sometimes are not worth the effort unless they are exceptionally large. One of my favorite mud bug meals is a creamy chipotle crawfish alfredo over elbow macaroni (I always choose elbow macaroni because, for some reason or another, it is always about $0.25 cheaper per pound than the "premium" shapes). Down in the bayou, the locals swear that the best way to savor the subtle flavor of the mud bug is to “suck the head”. While I do admit to trying this twice (after more than one beer), I will never do it again...

1 comment:

  1. It would be great if you would share your recipes of the dishes you make. The mud bug alfredo sounds yummy!