When crawfish season starts you can hear the collective clanging in Southern kitchens as home cooks reach into their cupboards for the right pot for a crawfish boil. Whether they're making a classic crawfish boil or embracing variations like Viet-Cajun crawfish broil, one thing is certain: leftovers. Leftovers can be a wonderful thing, however, reheating crawfish can be tricky. If you cook it too long, the texture turns from smooth and meaty to mushy or rubbery. Nobody wants that! Don't worry. We went to some of the finest chefs in the South to find out how to reheat crawfish. This is what they had to say.
How to reheat crawfish in boiling water
Meg Bickford, Executive chef of Commander's Palace in New Orleans encourages home cooks to reheat crawfish based on the way they were prepared to begin with. If your crawfish were boiled, she suggests dipping them in a pot of seasoned water for one or two minutes. Don't let them linger there any longer, though. Says Bickford, "over boiled whole crawfish can have a mushy texture making them not only unappetizing but very hard to peel."
How to reheat crawfish as part of a finished dish
If you're reheating crawfish as part of a dish like pasta, crawfish etouffee, or stew, Bickford suggests reheating the entire dish on the stovetop until it's warm all the way through. Medium is generally a safe temperature.
If you're reheating a finished dish like crawfish bread or crawfish stuffing, place it back in the oven at 325-350 degrees. Once again, be sure to remove it from the oven once it's heated through, since Bickford adds, "overcooked crawfish tails shrink drastically in size and become rubbery."
How to reheat crawfish in the microwave
Isaac Toups, Chef/Owner of Toups' Meatery in New Orleans and cookbook author of Chasing the Gator – Isaac Toups & the New Cajun Cooking surprised us with his favorite method for reheating crawfish, "this might sound crazy but the microwave is the best way to reheat crawfish. Place them in a Tupperware with the lid cracked just a little and heat them for a couple of minutes. This works great with crawfish and crab. Bonus: throw some unsalted butter in the container when you're heating it up and give it a shake!" Pro tip: if you're reheating the crawfish from frozen, Chef Toups says it's important to defrost them in the refrigerator first.
How to use leftover crawfish
Now that you know how to reheat your leftover crawfish, you're probably wondering how to use it. Hunter Evans, Chef/Owner of Elvies in Jackson, Mississippi has a delicious idea, "we had a crawfish boil over the weekend for my wife's birthday. After the party was over we peeled the leftover crawfish. The next night we used the crawfish in a pasta dish. In a pan, we started with butter, added leftover sausage and corn from the crawfish boil, as well as the leftover crawfish meat. We added all the ingredients to the butter in the pan and added cooked pasta. Chef Evans says he finished the dish with cream sauce but encourages you to use whatever pasta sauce you prefer.