Dublin Bay prawn
Note added at 2002-08-22 20:15:05 (GMT)
Not too long ago, a reader inquired as to the differences between shrimps, crayfish, langoustines and lobsters. I responded that it was tempting to say that she had \"opened a bag of worms\" but the truth was that she had indeed opened quite a bag of decapods (crustaceans with ten legs) for the problem is that by whatever name, crayfish (or crawfish as they are often called in the United States), shrimps, prawns, langoustes and the langoustines, all of which are edible decapods, are names that are used too loosely by most chefs, critics and cooks. Following is a bit of clarification and a few recipes.
Crayfish are fresh water decapods. Even though they resemble spiny lobsters they are smaller. Close cousins perhaps, but no more. Crayfish in French are ecrivesses. Be there no question but that the best crayfish dishes in the world are served in the state of Louisiana.
Langoustines are closely related to the crayfish but are salt water decapods. Even though the word langoustine is French, it is used in English as well because true langoustines do not exist in North America. One happy bit of news is that recipes calling for crayfish or langoustines can be used interchangeably. The meat of both are delicious, but you will find that crayfish are somewhat lighter and more puffy on the palate and it is that trait that makes them so highly prized throughout france.
To add a bit of confusion, prawns, which are very closely related to shrimps but are not (as is commonly thought) merely \"large shrimps\" are also called langoustines in French. That is not so much an error (especially on menus) as it is an attempt to give prawns a somewhat higher \"status\".
Shrimps, which are salt water creatures are called crevettes in French. Some fresh water shrimps also exist but these are not highly prized in the culinary world.
As to lobsters themselves - these salt water creatures come in two general varieties - the spiny lobster (common in France) and the smooth shelled lobster (North America, South Africa, etc). Although smooth shelled lobsters are always called homard in French, the spiny lobster can be referred to as either langouste or homard)
A Spanish dish
**Crayfish in Almond Sauce **
about 1 1/2 kilos crayfish or langoustines
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
juice of 4 large lemons
2 cups olive oil
4 - 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
24 almonds, peeled and lightly roasted
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt to taste
Split the crayfish or langoustines in half lengthwise, preferably while alive, clean well and season to taste with 1/2 tsp. of the black pepper, the juice of 2 of the lemons and salt to taste. Brush with olive oil and grill under a hot broiler or over hot charcoals until the meat is done.
While the crayfish is grilling make a sauce by combining the garlic, remaining black pepper, cayenne pepper and parsley in a mortar and grinding together thoroughly. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve the fish while hot with the sauce served separately. Serves 4.
|Maria Luisa Duarte|
Local time: 13:59
Native speaker of: English, Portuguese
PRO pts in category: 3