The French word “etouffee” translates to the English word “smother” – and that’s what you’re doing with this recipe. Whether it’s shrimp or crawfish – or even chicken or rabbit – the idea behind this New Orleans classic dish is to create a balance between the richness of a browned roux, the heat from your spices and the flavor your protein. This recipe came from our Cookbook Adventures video series, and was inspired by a recipe found in a 1993 cookbook David and I picked up while visiting the Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana.
2 T flour
1 to 2 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
1/2 small bunch of green onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 pound large shrimp, peeled
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Several dashes of your favorite hot sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
Put the flour into a small pan over medium heat, and constantly stir with a wooden spoon or spatula or a whisk. Be sure to get in the corners and stir CONSTANTLY, so your flour doesn’t burn. After the flour has browned (think a nice toast color), take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
This next part happens fast, so be prepared: In a larger pot or pan (with a lid), over medium heat, melt your butter and saute your yellow onion and garlic. Stir frequently. Next, add the green onions, parsley and shrimp. When the shrimp is almost done, add the tomato paste, Louisiana Cajun Seasoning and hot sauce, and stir until well mixed. (Your shrimp will be “done” when the exterior of the shrimp is pink with red tails and the flesh is slightly opaque and a little “white” in color. You don’t want to get to that point yet.)
Add the browned flour and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Add some water until the sauce is the consistency you want, and lower the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for another 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your stovetop. When your shrimp are done, remove the pan from the heat. Serve over rice or noodles.
Neither of us realized it was actually a “healthy” Southern cookbook – so we’ve definitely tweaked the original recipe. (The author used margarine and I’m not a huge fan of using that when cooking seafood.) But one of the best tricks of this recipe: Instead of spending all the time making a rich roux, you can get some of that flavor and color by simply browning the flour first. Recipe modified from A Trim and Terrific Louisiana Kitchen by Holly Berkowitz Clegg