Swedish Crayfish

The annual ‘kräftskiva’, or crayfish party, in Sweden is not something to take lightly. It’s a celebrated with plenty of crayfish, salads and silly hats. Because the summers are so short in Scandinavia it feels right to mark the arrival of locally caught crayfish with a big party.

Dill crowns, the flowering part of the fully grown plant, are commonly found on farmers’ markets in Sweden but less readily available elsewhere. You can grow them at home, or source them from specialist suppliers who stock edible flowers and pollen varieties. Fennel fronds or dill fronds would make good alternatives.

about 50 crayfish

7oz sea salt

4 tsp caster sugar

1 pint beer

large bunch of dill crowns, stalks removed

Bring about 10½ pints (6 liters) water to the boil in a large pan and add the salt, sugar and beer. Add most of the dill crowns, reserving a few for serving, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the crayfish and cook for 5–7 minutes before removing from the heat. Cool the pan quickly by placing in a tub or bath with cold water, iced if possible. The crayfish can be kept in their brine for up to 2 days.

To serve, drain and decorate with the remaining dill crowns. Serve with lemon aioli.

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