Calm down; you are a good cook. You have also figured out that crawfish etouffee is the Louisiana dish, and cooking it will not take up much time. Hence, all you have to do now is figure out if you have the ingredients, wrap up the things together and present a gastronomic delicacy (you have done it plenty of times, just never this fast). The new office, new life and new dishes too far from home can bring some challenges. Now, drop down the screen and figure out if you have these ingredients in your fridge.
What do you need to make crawfish etouffee?
Here’s the ingredients list. See what you find in your fridge and for the rest, rush to the online store –
- Celery (1 stalk)
- Onions (1 medium size) / Green onions (1 stalk)
- Green Bell Pepper (1 medium size chopped)
- All-purpose flour (4 tablespoons)
- Butter (4 tablespoons)
- Tomatoes (a must for Creole type seasoning) (1 big size)
- Garlic (2 cloves)
- Paprika (as per taste)
- Thyme (as per taste)
- Bay leaf (if available) – 1 is enough
- Parsley (according to taste – required for garnishing)
- Worcestershire sauce (add according to taste – start with 3 tablespoons)
- Crawfish (1 pound without the tail, if fresh – or go for frozen)
- Peanut or Vegetable oil – choose yours! If you add it ( can be done only with butter and flour), then it should be no more than 4 teaspoons.
If this time the crawfish is frozen, stick to it. Next time get it fresh and kicking. Got the rest of the items? Start off then
How to cook it up?
Step 1: The secret to this etouffee is its roux (the rich, savoury base). Get a saucepan with a heavy bottom and stir the brew of flour, butter and oil. Medium heat and constant stirring will help you achieve the pale yellowish hue (almost like a porridge).
Time Limit – A maximum of 12-15 minutes.
Keep stirring to avoid the brew from sticking to the base.
Step 2: Called the Holy Triad – Green bell pepper, celery and onion – add them now. Keep stirring. Caution: Do not leave it on the stove; it is sensitive and can get burnt!
Time Limit – 10 minutes for sure.
Step 3: The thyme, garlic and bay leaf come next. If a bay leaf is unavailable, just leave it out and keep stirring.
Time Limit – another 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: Paprika/ Tomatoes/ Worcestershire sauce – comes back-to-back and with consistent stirring.
Time Limit – 5 minutes to the clock
Step 5: Put in the seafood stock and bring to boil. As it remains simmering – add the crawfish and continue simmering.
Time Limit – another 5 minutes to the clock
Keep simmering, and add some more salt and pepper to perfect the taste. If the thickness does not seem well, add some more water to bring it to the required amount.
Don’t forget the parsley and chopped green onions. This is the correct time to add it to enhance the taste. Cook for another 5 – 7 minutes and turn off the stove. Your crawfish etouffee is ready!!
How to make the seafood stock (crawfish in this case)? – Add two teaspoons of butter and mix up the crawfish shells, bay leaf, celery, onion, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Sauté for up to 7 minutes and prepare a thick potion. Now add 5 cups of water (medium size cups), boil it up and then lower the heat. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.
The perfect serving partner
Though traditionally, white rice will enhance the taste of crawfish etouffee, for those of you looking for some variation, pasta or Italian bread works just fine. Make sure that the crust of this bread is crunchy to soak up the roux. Can you take some time to rush to the confectionary down the road? Then, hot garlic French bread is a clear winner.
#Tip 101: If serving with rice – do garnish the same with sliced lemons and scallions. Spicier and tangier – the better!
The main course done well; time for some side dishes! The magic of seafood is that almost any dish can match its taste. # The side dishes must complement the etouffee and not compete with it.
#When the main dish is Creole – Turn to Cajun for side dishes.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with their set of nutrients will never fail you. You will be lauded because it’s a crispy yet healthy dish.
Crispy to Crunchy – Creamy Coleshaw is your friendly platter.
Some leftover onions and pepper? Well, mix it up and serve the Maque choux! As a classic Cajun dish, all you need is a packet of corn to whip it up. This will enhance the Creole crawfish etouffee to a great extent.
This is not an optional side dish – rather – it is a must! Fried okra!! Whip up some dried okra, and add on cornflour and the daily spices. Deep fry it and serve it up with the etouffee!!
Time for some wine – Chardonnay is an all-time favourite. Already in your cabinet, is it? Pour it then. To your knowledge – the other soothers that you can opt – Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, and unoaked Sauvignon Blanc.
What’s dinner if not dished off with dessert?
The best part of having crawfish for the main course is – from pies to cakes, everything goes well. So, if you have the chocolate lava cake at home, that’s good enough. If not, you can always opt from blueberry pie, bread putting and chocolate brownies.
Some quick facts on etouffee
The crawfish etouffee is still on your stove simmering – so why not read up some quickies? What if you have a sudden discussion and don’t know the difference between Cajun and Creole styles? Note: Yours is the Creole style.
Did you know that there is a slight difference in Creole and Cajun varieties of crawfish etouffee? Well, in the Creole format – the roux is made by integrating butter with flour. Also, it is a little more herbaceous in nature, and adding tomatoes is the secret to its tangy flavour. While in the Cajun variety, the tomatoes are missing, rather it is spicier with bell pepper coating. Note this as well, in this variety of etouffee, the roux is a combination of oil and animal fat.
Though in recent times the French population has declined in Louisiana – yet the etouffee (smothered) preparation doesn’t seem to have lost grace! Whether with shrimp or crab, this broth just does its job well!!
Better prepared for next time – This time, the crawfish etouffee is simmered and cooked; what about the next time? For the budding chefs in town, take note – You must buy fresh crawfish (read: alive) and cook it within a day or two. Avoid the straight-tail ones – they have died long ago.
Do note the sizes of the fish you get. Try to get all the same sizes as this will prevent the extra cooking time.
Done for the dinner? Congratulations!! Now rush up and set up the table. The tableware and the wine glasses must be in place. By the way, in case you have a little time to spare – why don’t you place the dim lights over your dining space and pull up the curtains? Also, quickly place some aromatic nightlights around that space. Spray some room freshener.
#Try placing those aromatic candles in a glass bowl of rose petal water – the fragrance would be starkly different.
What are you waiting for? Set the table and go change. A vibrant host is just what every guest wishes! You never know, they might get impressed by both – the host and the crawfish etouffee. Wish you luck. Enjoy the dinner.