Happy Fat Tuesday Everyone!
Mardi Gras has begun and the week long celebration in New Orleans represents total debauchery before the holy time of lent leading up to Easter. I have been to New Orleans and let me tell you this place is rockin' on any given Tuesday night, let alone Fat Tuesday. The music plays out of every bar and venue, the drinks are poured with a loose hand, the people love to smile and share and the food is second to none. This recipe for Shrimp Etouffee was inspired by Chef Emeril Lagasse who I had the pleasure to work with a couple of your ago. I worked with the chef while he was filming his show "Emeril Green" at a Whole Foods Market in Virginia. He was gracious to everyone he met and a real professional. As an aspiring TV host he was great example of how it's done. I even got several on air opportunities with him, which was a dream come true.
Back to the food, the word "Etouffee" actually means "to smother" and is generally a thick, spiced gravy with shellfish and served over rice. As with most Louisiana cuisine this recipe has been influenced by the French, Spanish, Native American and West Indian Cultures. If you are thinking of making this at home, you need to give yourself some time, trust me it is definitely worth it. Below is a great recipe for etouffee as well as a dry Creole spice mix that can be used in gumbos and to spice chicken, pork, beef and fish.
Now Get Crackin'! Chef Egg
Emeril's Shrimp Etouffee Courtesy of Foodnetwork.com
6 t Unsalted Butter
1/2 C all-purpose flour
4 C chopped onions
2 C chopped green bell peppers
2 C chopped celery
2 T minced garlic
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 T Essence, recipe follows
1 qt. seafood stock
3 lbs medium shrimp (21 to 25 count per pound), peeled and deveined
1/4 C chopped parsley leaves
Steamed white rice, for serving
1/2 C thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish
First you have to make a roux. This is a mixture of fat and flower that helps to thicken, flavor and add color to the dish. Take your time with this step because it is the base for the whole dish. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium/low heat. Add the flour and stir continuously over medium heat until the roux is the color of peanut butter, about 45 minutes.
Next, add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the cold shrimp stock.
Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the etouffee, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season the shrimp with the remaining tablespoon of Essence and add them to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the chopped parsley to the pot and stir to combine.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onion tops.
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Place the ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine. Store the seasoning in an airtight container.