Another of the experiments I did on 26th March. A friend found frozen crawfish at the supermarket and it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
1.xi Item make filled crawfish thus. Boil them in water and shell them nicely. And lay the good, large claws and tails aside separately. Take the other small shelled crawfish necks, bellies and claws, chop them very small and break fresh eggs into them, as much as the quantity of the crawfish. Mix them with spices and salt and make them yellow a little. Chop parsley into them, but only the leaves and no stems. Knead it well in (coated with?) raw egg so that stays sticky and holds together. Then take the hofel or back shells and fill them well. Reverse another hofel over that so that one head says hither and the other says yonder, one belly against the other.
If you would then roast them, stick two or three on a skewer. Lay them on a griddle, and do not make it too hot until the filling firms up and becomes properly done (gerecht werd). Thus serve them warm.
If you would fry them in fat until the filling has gained enough, you may also do that until they are properly done. And serve those, too.
This recipe strictly belongs in the category of ‘playing with food’ and it would have looked even more impressive with the larger European river crawfish (astacus astacus) the original would have used than with the American kind we get today. We should envision it as a side dish accompanying a more elaborate preparation of crawfish meat, a way to use up the ‘fiddly bits’ by stuffing them in unused shells. Peeling and cleaning them is a major effort, so you would want to use it all even in an era when they did not most a fortune.
It turned out impossible to get any mix of egg and crafish meat at anywhere near equal quantities to stick together. It is possible the original envisions boiled eggs, but I cannot see how the text means that. more likely, some kind of thickening was involved. We ended up using breadcrumbs. In theory, adding more meat would have done the trick, but our supply was limited and we had other recipes to do.
The end result was surprisingly nice. It needed to be spooned out of the shells, though they could easily be pulled apart with the fingers. It could have used more seasoning, but that is a fairly trivial fault to remedy. A dipping sauce would have done nicely. Sources suggest serving crawfish with cherry sauce or honey mustard, and both could have done.