It’s crayfish season! These delicious little shellfish are similar to shrimp and lobster, but have a distinct taste of their own, and they’re delicious. But since they tend to be less common than lobster and shrimp, some of us may not know how to cook with crayfish. You can always do a crayfish boil and just peel and eat them, but they’re also great as an ingredient in a dish, like this one.
Étouffée, or etoufee, is a classic cajan dish with its roots in the French-influenced cooking that is so popular in the bayou area of Louisiana and New Orleans. It’s similar to a gumbo, but served over rice and is often a bit thicker than gumbo because of the flour roux. Étouffée can also be made with other proteins like shrimp, crabmeat or chicken, but it’s hard to beat the great flavor you can get out of the crayfish.
Recipe by Matt Essert
1 stick butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp and a pinch cayenne pepper
1 lb peeled crawfish tails
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
3 tbsp flour
1 cup water
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1. In a large saute pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute until the vegetables are wilted, about 10 to 12 minutes.
2. In a mixing bowl, season the crawfish tails with cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
3. Add the crawfish, garlic and water and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the crawfish for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. While cooking the crawfish, dissolve the flour in the water-about 1 teaspoon at a time-until the sauce turns a golden brown and the consistency is that of gravy. Continue cooking until the crawfish are soft to bite. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper as needed.
5. Stir in the parsley and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Serve over steamed rice.