Friday, October 28, 2011
There are two words in Brazilian Portuguese for this little creature - langostim and pitu - and the choice of which one to use is largely regional. Langostim is clearly of Romance origin and is related to the French langoustine, while pitu comes from the Native-American indian language tupi. Pitu is used more in the north and northeast of Brazil, while langostim is more common in the south and southeast.
In Brazil, crayfish are cooked in almost all the ways that shrimps and lobsters are - steamed, braised, cooked in soups and stews or even grilled. At simple thatched-hut beach restaurants all along the coast of Brazil, a bowl of whole crayfish simply cooked in a seasoned broth of coconut milk, onions, chili peppers and cilantro is a favorite mid-day snack - eaters pull the crayfish apart with their fingers and pry the meat out of the tail and claws, sucking on the smaller legs to extract the last little bits of goodness.
Even though crayfish can be substituted in most recipes for shrimp or lobster, we'll publish in upcoming posts a couple of the most popular Brazilian recipes which specifically call for crayfish.