End of the summer and beginning of the autumn is known as crayfish season in Finland. Many organize crayfish parties (rapujuhlat) and spend evening with friends eating, laughing and singing. This year sadly I have no time to organize crayfish party, or participate any parties organized by my friends. However, as I love crayfish parties a lot, I wanted to do a little TBT post about the topic. I know now many are looking for inspiration for their parties, so maybe you get idea or two from this.
For the crayfish party you should have 8 to 15 crayfishes per person, depending how big they are, and how much other food you will serve. We have usually bought two different sizes, and used the ready cooked, frozen ones. This is because to buy the alive ones and boil them takes a lot time, so we have took a little short cut on this. And of course the fresh ones cost a lot more than the ready cooked ones, so with party of 8-10 persons it has been also a budget question. If you buy the frozen ones remember to take them to melt early enough.
Crayfish party menu
- Amuse-bouche // Archipelago bread with sour cream caviar topping
- Starter // Creamy chanterelle soup
- Main course // 8-15 crayfishes per person + lemon + dill butter + toasts + small rye bred bites with different toppings
- Dessert // Vanilla panna cotta with seasonal berries
- Drinks // water, white wine and vodka
When you think how to serve the crayfishes only imagination is your limit. We once served them from huge class bowls, and in this party where these photos are from, we placed all the crayfishes in the middle of the table. We used wire netting as plate (I had tinfoil under it so that the table don`t get wet) and placed all the crayfishes top of the net. Then just by adding some dill, lemon and candles you end up creating quite a amazing center piece – and it is all eatable!
Everyone should have their own crayfish knife in the party, or otherwise it will be really heavy to eat the crayfish easily. I used dymo label writer to type names on each knife, so then they also worked as a name tags.
In Finland vodka (or any other clear strong alcohol) plays a important role in crayfish party. Everyone had their own schnapps class and I can ensure you it was not filled only once or twice.. you drink and sing a lot in these parties!
As eating crayfish is not the cleanest job, and they also have quite a strong scent, we had small bowls filled with fresh water and lemon for everyone. This way you can easily dip your fingers to the water and get fresh when ever you want without leaving the table.
As a amuse-bouche we served Finnish archipelago bread (saaristolaisleipä) with sour cream caviar topping. Finnish archipelago bread is malt and rye bread which tastes quite sweet and works perfectly together with fish and caviar.
Traditional way to eat the crayfish is with dill butter and toast. So you need toasters close to the table during the party, so that you can serve “fresh” toast all through the party. We had two toasters for 8 persons and it was just enough.
Somehow half of the party is always spend by playing with the food, haha. Also remember to have enough paper towels for everyone, it is surprising dirty job to eat crayfish. SOme even like to give bib to everyone in crayfish party, so you don`t end up making your clothes dirty. I would also advice you to have buckets around the table so that people can trough easily everything that remains there, and keep their plates clean.
Dessert was vanilla panna cotta served with seasonal berries. I cooked the berries fast in small amount of water and cane sugar before adding them top of the panna cotta.
Are you planning to organize crayfish party this year?
Have a nice Thursday,