Tweaked with just the right amount of red hot cayenne pepper, crawfish or shrimp etouffee becomes a magic-tasting moment.
New Orleans and its surrounding region is a plain area with lots of struggling yet proud people with strong ritualistic patterns, not the least of which are their cuisines and sacred family recipes. Vacationers, worldwide, eagerly travel to the Big Easy to dine on some of these famed native dishes:
- Creole pralines
- Red beans and rice
- Shrimp creole
Etouffees are commonly made of seafood — usually just one type at a time, such as a crawfish or shrimp. The word, Etouffee, pronounced (Ay-2-FAY), translated means food smothered, braised or stewed. Basically, it’s a shellfish concoction served over rice. It is part of both the New Orleans’ Creole as well as Cajun heritage.
There are many similarities between the area’s famed etouffees and gumbos. Both are a hearty mixture served over rice; both start with a roux. You will find only crawfish or shrimp in an etouffee; gumbo can have meat, fish, seafood or poultry in it. Family-license allows natives to deviate in countless ways by adding “secret” embellishments. Authorities on the topic maintain a true etouffee contains no tomatoes. These are said to be a Creole touch.
Maybe the greatest difference between etouffee and gumbo is their roux. Famed for its buttery richness, etouffee’s roux is made from a good deal of butter and a little flour. It is slowly cooked until the roux is lightly tanned. In the case of gumbo, the parts of flour to oil or butter are almost equal, and it is slowly cooked down to a very rich, dark brown color.
We first read about crawfish etouffe during the 1950s concocted in a small town named Breaux Bridge in Louisiana, others argue some Cajuns came up with it in the 1920s somewhere in the hinterlands of remote Louisiana. It seems to have gone public when the Big Easy’s Galatoire’s Bourbon Street Restaurant offered it, and it was well a hit!
Below are foodsites with etouffee recipes.