Crawfish or Shrimp Etouffee

This dish can be made with either shrimp or crawfish (aka crawdads). The closest thing to crawdads that we have found in Northern California stores are “langostino” which are small shellfish that resemble a mini lobster but the meat isin’t as rich. You can check withSanta Rosa Seafoodand see if they can order it. Or if you have plenty of time on your hands, we do have crawdads in our local creeks. You would have to catch quite a few of them to get 2 lbs of meat though!
I would rate the spice level as medium heat so if you like it mild, you may want to cut back a little on the cayenne pepper. You can always add more spice later. Bon Appetit!

Crawfish or Shrimp Etouffee

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried sweet basil leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 7 TBSP canola oil
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 3 cups (in all) seafood stock
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs peeled crawfish tails or medium shrimp
  • 1 cup very finely chopped green onion
  • Cooked rice

Thoroughly combine the first 6 ingredients to make the seasoning mix in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the onions, celery, and peppers.

Making the roux is a crucial step. If this is the first time you have made roux, you might want to read about roux making first. Make sure you stir constantly and do not let it burn or the whole dish will have a foul taste. In a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the oil over high heat until it begins to smoke. With a long-handled whisk, gradually mix in the flour, stirring until smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until roux is dark red-brown (be careful not to let it scorch in the pan or splash on your skin). Remove from heat and immediately stir in the vegetables and 1 TBSP of the seasoning mix with a wooden spoon; continue stirring until cooled, about 5 minutes.

In a 2-quart saucepan bring 2 of the 3 cups of seafood stock to a boil over high heat. Gradually add the roux and whisk until thoroughly dissolved. Reduce heat to low and cook until flour taste is gone, about 2 minutes, whisking almost constantly (if any of the mixture scorches, don’t continue to scrape that part of the pan bottom). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a 4-quart saucepan melt 1 stick of the butter over medium heat. Stir in the crawfish or shrimp and the green onions; saute about 1 minute, stirring almost constantly. Add the stock mixture and the remaining 1 cup stock; cook until everything is blended with the sauce, about 4 minutes, constantly shaking the pan in a back-and-forth motion (versus stirring). Add the remaining seasoning mix; stir well and remove from heat (if sauce starts separating, add about 2 TBSP more of stock or water and shake pan until it combines).

Top with more slivered green onions and serve immediately with hot cooked rice.

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