I got crabs..I mean crayfish

I lied. I decided to tell you more about the fat man in my life later.

I was wandering around Meijer’s the other day. (I frequently end up wandering aimlessly in large stores; it’s the explorer in me I guess.) Even if I don’t need something specific from the meat department, I always poke around to see what they have. Last time it was tongue…this time it was pre-cooked crayfish. A huge 5 pound bag for $5.00. Call it crayfish clearance. It was already seasoned with red pepper which is why I think it ended up on the reject shelf. But at $.99 per pound, I could not resist and tossed it in the cart.

When I arrived home, my hubby looked at the bag and said “Ettoufee!” Tony partied frequently in New Orleans during his mis-spent youth, so whenever possible, he has me whip up things like po’ boys and muffalatta. I had never made Ettoufee before, so I pulled out my cooking bible, The Joy of Cooking and got jiggy with it.

Since he called it..he got to clean it. Those damn things are creeping looking bugs, but he ripped the tails off expertly and was finished in no time.

That left us with two problems:

Problem one– all the red pepper. It was overwhelming. The ettoufee recipe called for stock made from the shells of the crayfish, so I rinsed them several times in cold water until I got most of it off. Still, the broth had quite a kick to it. To compensate, I left all the spicy peppers out of the rest of the recipe.

Problem two – five pounds of crawfish means about ¾ of a pound of tail meat. Since I had wanted to make a huge batch, I pulled some frozen shrimp out of the freezer and threw them into the mix as well.

After that it went smoothly: the roux came out dark and rich, the crayfish and shrimp went in at the last moment and didn’t toughen up at all. The gravy was hot enough to make a preacher kick a hole in a stained glass, but once it went over rice it was great! The only thing missing was a big, cold glass of Jax beer.

To put it politely, it’s a keeper. And the leftovers were even better the next day.

Here is my take on crayfish and shrimp ettoufee. Not bad for a Yankee, I guess.

Rosie’s Ettoufee

2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp, crawfish or a combination of both (Reserve shells of the critters)


The Shells of the Crawfish and Shrimp

8 cups of water (or enough to cover shells)

1 onion, quartered

bay leaf

some thyme

a lil bit of cayenne (if the shellfish were not already seasoned blistering hot)



6 T vegetable oil

6 T flour

Holy Trinity

2 medium onions, medium dice

2 green peppers, medium dice (you can use red as well. I used one of each.)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 cups of shrimp and crayfish stock

salt and pepper

cayenne pepper if needed

1 T lemon juice

1 bunch chopped green onions

Throw the stuff for the broth in a nice heavy kettle. Cook at a low boil until it has reduced to 4 cups of broth. Strain, set aside.

Add oil and flour to your pot and cook stirring constantly until the paste turns to a nice brown color. I made mine fairly dark, it took about 20-25 mins.

Once the roux is finished, throw in the trinity and sauté until the vegetables are soft. Slowly add the broth, whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Once all the liquid is added, stir occasionally until the broth thickens about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Add lemon juice and green onions. Serve over plain white rice.

It’s damn good!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You didn't say when to add the shrimp/crawfish so we guessed. We added tabasco and worchestershire sauce to the broth & rouge mixture. Very tasty!