Tips to perfect your crayfish parties
For a couple of months in the early autumn the Nordics go crazy for crayfish as the season for this delicacy is on. Learn the best tips for throwing the ultimate kräfskiva!
August and September are traditional months for the Nordic crayfish parties. The eating usually takes place outdoors despite the typical cold weather and aggressive mosquitoes.
If you serve crayfish as a starter, 6-8 per person should be fine. 10 pieces is a good amount when enjoyed as the main course. In Sweden, crayfish is usually served with bread, seasonal mushroom pies and strong Västerbotten cheese. Salads and sauces are served on the side. Toasted bread, butter and dill are the go to side orders in Finland. As the crayfish are quite arduous to eat, serving a seasonal vegetable soup as a starter is a good idea.
Crown dill is an essential part of cooking the crayfish. It is harvested from the dill plants that have already flowered and the flavour is more intense than in regular dill. Use only the stems: the flowers are better for garnish as they give a bitter taste for the brine.
When boiling the crayfish, it is important not to add too many of them to the water at the same time as it cools down the water. For this recipe, use two pans to make sure you get an even cooking result. Cook the crayfish in the morning so that the flavour is perfect when served in the evening.
Cooking crayfish the right way
As a main course for 4 people
5 l of water
1 ½ dl coarse sea salt
4 sugar cubes
plenty of fresh crown dill
Check that the crayfish are alive. Rinse them with cold water.
Tie four bunches of crown dill with cooking twine. Set aside.
Divide water, salt and sugar in two pots and bring to boil. The water should be boiling heavily before adding the crayfish.
Add the crayfish one by one shield first to the water. Put the biggest ones in first - they need longer time to cook.
Add one dill bunch on top of the crayfish in both pots. Cook the crayfish for 8-10 minutes. Start counting the time once the water starts to boil again after adding the crayfish. The shield of a cooked crayfish rises up slightly by their neck.
Take the pots out of the heat and cool the crayfish down in the brine. You can put the pots in an ice bath to speed up the process. Take out the dill and replace with fresh sprigs.
Store the crayfish in the fridge until serving.
Take the crayfish out of the brine and arrange on a platter. Decorate with the flowers of crown dill.
Cook the crayfish in the morning so that the flavour is perfect when served in the evening.
Schnapps like akvavit or ice cold vodka are the usual go-to drinks to have in these parties, as well as cold lager. In the Drink Nordic book you can find perfect cocktail recipes to take your drink game up a notch, like this Lemon&Dill schnapps: https://www.drinknordic.com/post/lemon-dill-schnapps