Tuesday, November 13, 2007

About Crawfish

Once upon a time, more than 20 years ago, a big truck was passing through the village of Fourques, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the south of France, when the driver, for reasons now forgotten, lost control of his vehicle. The giant truck toppled and it rolled. Like a beast in its final moments, it made terrible screeching noises that everybody and his neighbor could hear. With a final metal-scratching-on-concrete wail, it ground to a halt on its side, smack in the middle of one of Fourques's main roads.

The sight was enough to leave the villagers stunned, but they were in for a bigger surprise. From out of the whacked-open belly of the upturned truck came crawling out hundreds and hundred of monstrous little critters. The things had hard brown skins, spidery legs, and two front claws that snapped. The horde made click-clicking noises as it made for the freshwater canals bordering the road. The children and the women of Fourques screamed.

Cooler heads soon enough intervened, and told everybody that they had no cause for worry. The truck's cargo were not hungry alien monsters. The villagers, with the typical French passion for all things tasty, heaved a sigh of relief and started licking their lips.

And that is how Louisiana crawfish came to be living in the waters of a remote village in the south of France.

The American crustaceans liked it so much in their new environs that they started multiplying like crazy, providing business for the young boys of the village, who would trap crawfish in the afternoons and sell them to the village housewives for a steal--about five francs per kilo. One of these young boys, as you can very easily guess, was named Pierre, who grew up to be my husband, who I know loves telling tales but I don't know half the time if I should believe him.

This particular story he told me after I had come back from the market in Arles with a can of bisque d'écrevisses, crawfish bisque, made in Fourques. I opened it, heated the soup, and ate it with croutons on which I had scratched some shallots. It's a softer version of lobster bisque. I'm going to make the detour to Fourques this week to get some more. Trust me: It's delicious! If you like the taste of seafood and you live in France, you can have cans and bottles delivered to your home. Just go to the Lou Chambri website. You can ask them if their goods are actually tombés du camion*. Or maybe not, as we don't want them spitting in your soup.

(Yes, after all that drama, this is just a blog post about food.)

* tombés du camion, literally, "fallen from the truck," an idiom meaning "stolen goods"


kala said...

The first part: gripping drama! Now, I'm just hungry :D

La Pomme said...

Hey, Kala! Am sure there are interesting things to eat where you are.