RECIPE: Étouffée (Crawfish or Shrimp)

As my first blog post, I thought it only fitting that I give you the gift of simply marvelous food. It just seems like the thing to do. And a sneaky way to remind you that I’m from New Orleans, among other places. Bon appétit!

This recipe is a hybrid from Paul Prudhomme and my cousin Lillian Lanclos Robertson. I like the dark roux, “plunged trinity,” and the spice blend from Chef Paul, and the tangy addition of mustard from Cousin Lillian. I added the Tabasco, lemon juice, worcestershire, parsley, and green onions because they just seem right. I have also used poblano instead of bell pepper when I cooked it for Jody, who doesn’t like bells, and it added a subtle layer of flavor. Adjust the cayenne to your personal level of heat. As written, it has a slow burn, and I like it that way!

Ingredients:

  • 12-16 oz. crawfish tails or shrimp (salad or small size, or cut into 1″ pieces)
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper or poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 c butter (unsalted)
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1 T whole grain or dijon mustard
  • 3-4 c shrimp or seafood stock (chicken stock can substitute)
  • 3-4 splashes of Tabasco
  • 1 T worcestershire sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 T chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c scallions, chopped

Spice mix:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cayenne (adjust down for milder)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

In a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pot, make a chestnut brown roux by bringing the vegetable oil to screaming hot, then stirring in the flour. Stir constantly until it becomes brown, but be careful not to burn it. Add (plunge) the trinity (celery, onions & peppers) into the roux, and remove the pan from the heat. Add 1 T of the spice mix. Stir constantly until you can’t hear the sizzle anymore (a few minutes). The vegetables will be covered with the thick brown roux and cooking within it.

When the sizzle stops, return to medium heat, and add 3 cups of the stock, mustard, Tabasco, and worcestershire.

If you need to pause cooking, this is the point to do it. If the sauce thickens too much while sitting or if you refrigerate it, loosen it with more stock when you reheat it.

In a separate pan, saute crawfish or shrimp in butter and the rest of the spice mix until almost cooked, 3-5 minutes. Add the whole mix to the sauce, stir thoroughly. Simmer until flavors are blended — about 5-10 minutes more. Check for spiciness, and salt & pepper to taste. Finish with parsley and lemon juice just before serving.

Serve over rice and top with a few chopped scallions. Green salad & garlic bread or baguette makes the meal.

Serves 6-8.

About ALICE MELOTTTransformation Coach (CPC pending) 🔹 Certified Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) 🔹 MAPS-trained 🔹 Member, International Coaching Federation (ICF) 🔹 Strategic Communications, Change Management & Engagement Consultant 🔹 Real Estate Broker / REALTOR & referral agent, previously licensed in TX & GA, now NC active 🔹 Historic & coastal home specialist 🔹 alice@alicemelott.com 🔹 404-333-1198

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