A down-home delicacy, Italian style
This recipe from Mario Batali marries crayfish with a tomato-jalapeño sauce.
Crayfish are small freshwater crustaceans prevalent in southeastern North America — the South's answer to Maine lobster. Only a small portion of the body of a crayfish is edible. In this bucatini recipe, I use tail meat.
Like all crustaceans, crayfish shed their shells, or molt, in order to grow. After they molt, the crayfish shells are thin, soft and edible. These soft-shell crayfish used to be considered an inferior product. Now we know better.
Frozen soft-shell crayfish are just as tasty as fresh, and often more readily available. Allow them to thaw. They pair perfectly with the jalapeño-basil mixture in this recipe. And the dish is the perfect embodiment of my credo: Use the best local ingredients as simply as possible and serve them with flourish and joy.
Use American crayfish in this Italian-style preparation for a supremely delicious combination of Italian flavors and domestic ingredients.
James Beard Award-winner Mario Batali, a Seattle native, is a chef, restaurateur, author and TV personality. His latest book is "Molto Batali."