Its spring on the river, most people see this weather around Easter, seems we see it this year around Mardi Gras. Either way its beautiful outside its not hot, it’s not too cool, the local college is playing sports outside again. TAILGATE!!! If you want crawfish, you better bait your nets or take a second mortgage on your home. But it’s that time with Lent here and it is time to take stock of what is available in the garden or the freezer. Besides the most obvious boiling, the three major ways to cook crawfish are Bisque, Pie, and Etouffee. Yes there are other ways, but these three are the most common.
Etouffee is a bastardization of French and Spanish which basically means smothered food. Surprisingly there is both a Cajun and a Creole Etouffee, go figure. Of course the difference is the tomato. The nouveau Cajuns, the transplants and kids who left home to move to the cities use bell peppers and celery in Etouffee because it the holy trinity and that’s how you make Cajun food. This can be enhanced by canned soup? Yes, Piccadilly cafeteria’s world famous Etouffee uses both celery and mushroom canned soup. But mine is the basic little old lady next door’s old time crawfish Etouffee. The one she made the day after the kids came home from running the nets all morning (too hot in the afternoon) with a sack or maybe even two of crawfish from the bar ditch along the rail road tracks. You boil that night, peeling for you and the littlest young one (you seem to adopt to feed), then peeling for the freezer, (cold beer aiding in this endeavor sizably). You only need wait for two things, crawfish and green onions, both are must haves. Its so simple and delicious, while being easy enough for a first grader to make.
First this arrived earlier this week, I got 4x this many. The freezer is full and they don't last too long.
The above amount makes this many for the freezer! 12 bags of greens and 6 bags of whites. remember there was 4x this many....LOL
First you melt a stick of butter, did I mention margarine only works in a few recipes and all of which were written after WWII. If you ever fear butter burning you can remove the milk fats and its called clarified, cause you can see thru it? (This is a southern belles best kept secret to making pecan pies.... Shhhhhh)
You add a large fresh bunch of chopped green onions, tops and bottoms.
You will need with the butter and the chopped green onions (which you can see is about 4 cups) Crawfish!
Turn the fire down to the very lowest setting and put on the lid. Let it muther, (there is no adverb needed here that's another type of muther!).
When they sweat down, do not caramelize, Add flour; Flour requires a boil to thicken where cornstarch does not and flour must be cooked to remove its pasty taste where I don’t taste it with corn starch. Add some flour to the smothered onions, incorporate and then add the water. OR just make a slurry of water and corn starch and add when ready. I like the ability to add the corn starch to the near finished product when I am happy with all my fluids instead of living with the flour amount from the beginning. A chef would laugh at me. You can not measure the water and fat of the crawfish, nor the freshness and liquids in the onions.
Either way it cooks down.
Now I would add 2 cups of good clean clear spring water, reserving 1/2 cup if you are doing Corn starch
I started with 1/2T, but when I added the crawfish later I needed another 1T to make it right. Been awhile since I had seen fresh green onions.
I put the lid on and allow it to cook for maybe 10 mins. when you see the piece of meat which covers the vein coming lose it done. Then you can add salt and cayenne. That's it! I will tell you I cheat, this is one of my two guilty pleasures I have to use Tony's to get that perfect taste. I ate it that way while on the road for too many years now its just how its supposed to taste. Throw in 1/2 t. of Tony's.
That's just beautiful.......
Here's the recipe, like you need it.
1lb. peeled crawfish w/ butter (or shrimp or crab)
1/4lb. creamery butter
1 Med. bunch fresh green onions chopped
1 1/2T corn starch
Salt & Cayenne
Tabasco to taste
I told you a first graders on problem making it, is getting the lid to stay down while its rendering down the onions.
Hope you get to try it some day, shrimp and/or crab is totally awesome.
1. Friends don't feed friends crawfish that doesn't speak English, the other guys are larger but so tuff and bland. Its like those December watermelons from Mexico, they look nice.
2. Corn Starch or flour, your call. It hard though to judge the fluids to add flour early enough so it can cook.
3. If you are used to eating in the restaurant you will not notice, but.... if you got this from your house the crawfish were probably left over for a boil. If so add a touch of your crab boil to the pot to make it taste right.
4. Add tomato and its a creole Etouffee (quite common in SW Louisiana)
5. You can always add celery and bell pepper if your inner Cajun shouts holy trinity!
I guess that's it.... wait, the Bear view, again its the good china! Only the best for my friends!
Crawfish ettouffee, corn on the cob, fresh sweet NC Cole Slaw, and a piece of po-boy bread.
Fresh green onions just shouts ettouffee to me..... and the fresh cabbage ... well slaw is too simple.
Hope you enjoy it.