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June 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Our crayfish are better than yours

University of Washington biologist Julian Olden holds a native Signal crayfish, right, and a smaller, nonnative Red Swamp crayfish, caught in Pine Lake in Sammamish.

University of Washington biologist Julian Olden holds a native Signal crayfish, right, and a smaller, nonnative Red Swamp crayfish, caught in Pine Lake in Sammamish. Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times

Like a proud papa, we constantly boast about our seafood bounty (oysters, salmon, etc.)  to out-of-towners.

But who here  has ever bragged about our native crayfish? It’s not a legend. They’re out there, lurking under rocks and logs in Lake Washington and other local bodies of water.

They’re bigger and meatier than those found in the waters of Louisiana. And they taste better too, I think. 

I’ve tasted both native crayfish and those harvested from Louisiana. I’ve even tasted native and the Louisiana crayfish  when both were caught in the same lake. I think the native Signal crayfish  taste sweeter, less pungent than the Louisiana crayfish or crawfish or whatever you want to call them.

Most crayfish sold in local  gourmet supermarkets come from Louisiana. Those crayfish served in etouffée and other Cajun dishes found in your local restaurants? Sorry, those are harvested in Louisiana also.

But you’re in luck. It’s prime crayfish-catching season. Here’s my crayfish story from last summer when I hung out with  Julian Olden, the state’ leading crayfish expert and a freshwater biologist at the University of Washington.

From our catch: The tail of the Louisiana crayfish was more like a pinkie, the native closer  in size to my thumb.

Later that afternoon, I cooked them in a butter-garlic sauce with corn on the cob and andouille sausage. Still the best crayfish boil I’ve ever had.

0 Comments | Topics: crawfish, crayfish, Seafood

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