Crawfish, Swedish-style

I had no idea that crawfish were consumed in Sweden. Several years ago, my old friend Matt Brown and I got a gig to do a photo shoot for some business travel guide, and we were hired to take a photo for the frontispiece of the Louisiana section. This shoot also involved the live-action section of an animated film Matt made which featured a scene of me eating crawfish and drinking beer, falling asleep, then dreaming of a giant, six-foot crawfish eating me and sucking all the juice and fat out of my head ... or was it a dream after all? But I digress.

Anyway, fresh crawfish were out of season, and in desperation we tried calling around. Santa Monica Seafood said they had whole crawfish frozen, and we dashed over there to get them. The package said "Kräftor", and they were Louisiana crawfish, exported to Sweden, prepared Swedish-style, then re-imported back for sale at this Santa Monica, California seafood market. Weird, huh?

They worked great for the shoot, and years later, after setting up this web site, I started getting mail from several Swedes wondering about how we prepare them in Louisiana (see my crawfish boil recipe if you haven't already), and one of them, Nicolaus Kedegren, very kindly offered me his own kräftor recipe, which I offer below. I personally prefer the Louisiana way, being a Louisianian and all, but if you're ever doing Swedish food, definitely give this a try!

I am fascinated by the amount of crawfish recipes to be found. As you may have figured out from my email-address, I am writing to you, mentioning how we eat crawfish in Sweden.

Make sure all of the crawfish are alive.

Boil water, salt, sugar, dill-"crowns" and anis.

Place the crawfish in a sifter, and lower them into the boiling water. let them cook for 10 minutes after that the water boils up again after putting in the crayfish. Let them cool off in the seasoned water.

This is a dish served cold. As a side dish I recommend is toast and strong English Cheddar cheese.

To drink: Beer, most people drink lager with their crayfish, I myself prefer Guinness or another stout.

Also, freezer-cold ABSOLUT vodka, or any other akvavit. The akvavit is to be consumed in one gulp, ice-cold in small glasses, 2 to 3 fluid ounces. (This is typically Swedish).

Since this is a typical Swedish summer dish, a dessert consisting of a strawberry cake is also very typical.



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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)