Photo © Jan-Erik Nilsson and Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2009
The season for these Swedish crayfish usually begins in early August, where the entire month of August is dedicated to crayfish parties around Sweden. But a neighbour had brought home a large catch of these and they thus made their way to our Midsummer table.
A significant difference in seafood sold in Sweden and in Singapore as I found out, is how most seafood in Sweden is sold pre-cooked in dill marinated brine, so that crayfish, prawns, crabs and lobsters often taste heavily salted with a hint of dill when you buy them off the shelves at the grocers. As such, cooking Singapore chilli crabs out of pre-cooked dill marinated crabs in brine, doesn’t quite give the desired results, as one can imagine.
Crown dill marinated and brine cooked crayfish.
Through the years though, I have found some use of brine boiled prawns bought off the shelves in Sweden, such as making quite good Hokkien prawn noodle soup from the peels. Just add butter, onion and sambal and you will have a broth that is reminescent of those sold at the Singapore hawker centers.
Crayfish bodies are usually 5 – 6 cm in length. These are shelled in the same manner as a large prawn.
Crayfish doesn’t need much to enhance its flavour. One of my favourite ways to have Swedish crayfish is to peel them and have a small pile of them with a little dollop of mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon. Crayfish meat also makes a perfect topping on bread, and one or two crayfish sandwiches with a fresh blade of salad will make a most enjoyable meal!
And on the Swedish table, crayfish is often downed with snapps!