A Crayfish Party “Kräftskiva“ is a traditional summertime eating and drinking celebration in Sweden, but has since spread to other countries. Crayfish parties are generally held during August, a tradition that started because crayfish harvesting in Sweden was, for most of the 20th century, legally limited to late summer. Today most people just celebrate some time in August, also to be able to keep the party outside due to the weather. Usually you have special decorations, paper hats, paper tablecloths, paper lanterns (often the Man in the Moon), and bibs. As in Sweden when you have parties like this it is usually very custom to have drinking songs with your schnapps “snapsvisa.”
In Sweden it is really easy to get fresh or frozen crayfish but if you are in the US you probably have to go to your local fisherman and get some. If you get fresh ones the first thing you have to do is get the crayfish to “empty their guts.” Basically what you do is jut put them in cold water with some salt and let them sit in there for at least 30 minutes and rinse the water once at least too. If you already get frozen or dead crayfish you can just boil them right away in the brine.
People have different traditions of what they serve with their crayfish. Traditionally you just server the crayfish with crispbread “knäckebröd” i.e. Wasa Bread, and some schnapps. But nobody got satisfied on that so today people add a few more things to their menu. Most of the time you have different kinds of breads, different kinds of Quiches, usually Cheese Quiche or Quiche Lorraine. Some will add Herring, Potatoes and Meatballs too. Most folks will do some kind of a sauce for the crayfish like Aioli, Rouille or Yogurt sauce with Dill. Then for dessert most folks will make a Strawberry cake.
Either way it is always a good time!
Serves: 4-6 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Brine Time: 3-24 hours
2 ½ lbs crayfish
2 ½ quarts water
¼ cup kosher salt
5 large stalks of crown dill
Boil the water, add the salt, and the crown dill. Put in the crayfish one after the other with the head first and cook for 10 minutes. Then let them cool in this brine in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours but some people recommend they sit at least 24 hours.
Before serving remove them from the brine.