Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crawfish Etouffe

Picture of Crawfish Etouffee Recipe
Crawfish Etouffe photo from Emeril Lagasse website
In Louisiana many people eat crawfish and consider it a wonderful delicacy.  My family prefers them boiled with potatoes, onions, mushrooms and corn.  However, we also eat them fried, especially on French bread as  Po'boys piled high with tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, mayo, ketchup and mustard.  And when we want crawfish when company is on the way, we mix up a pot of  etouffe.   On Friday I used four pounds of crawfish to feed about 12 people, but we're big eaters when crawfish is on the menu!  My sister and her girls came for a visit last week.  Since we're Catholics and this is the Lenten season, I had to find something other than meat to cook for supper.  Laura suggested crawfish because it's not a food they get very often in Tennessee.

To make the etouffe, I generally use a huge Dutch oven made of cast iron.  It holds what seems like a ton of gravy, browns my seasoning well, and heats evenly.  The following is my version of crawfish etouffe but uses only one pound of crawfish tails which serves four.  At the end of the recipe I have added other uses for crawfish etouffe.  Afterall, once you master the art of making etouffe, you'll love the dish so much you'll want to wow your friends with it often.

Crawfish Etouffe

1/4 cup oil or butter
one medium onion (1 cup chopped)
two stalks celery (1/2 cup chopped)
one medium bell pepper (1/2 cup chopped)
1/3 cup plain flour
one can Rotel tomatoes
2 cups water
one pound Louisiana crawfish tails (peeled and deveined)
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy pot, heat the oil on medium heat and saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper until just wilted.  Add the flour and brown until the vegetables are well sauted.  Add tomaotes and cook down, stirring continuously so they do not burn.  Add the water, salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes to make a gravy.  Finally add the crawfish and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve over rice.

boiled crawfish photo from
We generally eat crawfish etouffe over rice the way we eat rice and chicken gravy or beef gravy or whatever gravy.  However, in Louisiana we love our crawfish etouffe so much that we've experimented with other ways to eat it.  If you're not on a diet, you might fry up some catfish, place a few strips on the plate and smother it with etouffe.  Talk about delish!  

We also like crawfish dip, which is essentially etouffe cooked down.  I generally use smaller crawfish for dip or chop the larger ones so that the dip is more consistently thick.  We love buttery crackers with our dip, but chips and other crackers work also.  

Crawfish etouffe mixed in with cornbread is very good.  Simply crumble the cornbread and use it the way you would rice.  And of course, there are many ways to use crawfish etouffe with pasta, but if you simply boil the pasta and drain, then mix it in with the etouffe, you'll have a fast, easy pasta dish.  Simply keep the pasta and etouffe warm on the stove top for about 10 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the juices from the crawfish.  

If you haven't tried eating crawfish in the past, you might want to consider purchasing peeled, deveined tails from the freezer section of the grocery store.  Boiled crawfish can be a bit intimidating.  They aren't the prettiest plate of food when compared to, say baked turkey or roast leg of lamb.  But they are just as delicious and once you develop a taste for them, you'll probably be thrilled to break a mudbug in half and peel the meat from the tail portion.  You can't imagine the wonderful aroma or the succulent's something you simply have to experience. 

1 comment:

Carol said...

Yeah ya right! And all I have in my GA freezer is shrimp. I remember using a flat nose shovel and scooping up those mud bugs, and filling bushel baskets, as they tried to cross US Hwy 90 in NOLA east. Free feast. Food is the only thing I miss. Thanks for the memory.