Mardis gras… fat tuesday… tasty tuesday. Same thing.
Welcome to another installment of Alex making food New Orleans style, this time with local whole shrimp and a spicy bowl of goodness. Last time around we had some BBQ shrimp, and now its time for gumbo’s sophisticated brother etoufee. Etoufee is a creole dish (no tomatoes) made with a roux and the trinity of vegetables. Crawfish is a slightly more traditional ingredient, but shrimp is no pour substitute, especially when fresh from the GA coast courtesy of The Dirt Farmers. I might have cheated on the trinity of vegetables here, replacing bell peppers with jalapenos, but hey, I like jalapenos and spiciness and I do not like bell peppers. So there you have it.
Since it is Fat Tuesday, and on Fat Tuesday you tell the truth (usually due to insobriety, but hey), I should say that I really wanted to make etoufee because I’ve never had it before and it is embarrassing given that I was born in Jefferson Parish. Seems like I should have the taste of New Orleans seeped into my skin, but I suppose my moving to Georgia left me with more of a longing than a true appreciation. I like the place, haven’t spent a lot of time there, but like it. I like the food, though the over-reliance on bell peppers can be a turn off. Its a complicated tale filled with half-met expectations and continually growing curiosity.
But, as a dish to warm you up on a cold evening, Fat Tuesday or not, this etoufee is an expectation fully met that will leave you craving for so much more that you won’t mind missing whatever you are giving up for lent.
1/2 stick butter
4 tbsp flour
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded, ribbed, and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp alt, pepper, paprika, white pepper,
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 qt shrimp stock (vegetable stock simmered with shrimp heads)
1 lb whole shrimp, peeled (leave 4 behind with heads and shells on)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup brown rice, prepared in rice cooker
Head on Shrimp
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp red pepper flake
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash canola oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp heavy cream.
Begin by making the shrimp stock. Cut the heads off all but 4 shrimp and add to 1 quart of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. If you are not using whole shrimp, follow the same procedure using the peels. Strain the stock into a bowl, making sure no peels/heads remain in the stock.
Begin the rice in the rice cooker.
Begin making the roux by melting the butter in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk into a thick paste. Lower the heat and cook at least 15 minutes until the roux has browned slightly and has an aroma like browned butter.
Stir in the veggies and cook about five minutes, until the onions begin to wilt. Add the garlic, parsley and spices. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and raise the heat to medium high until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until veggies are soft and the etoufee has a gravy like texture. Stir in the headless shrimp. Keep on heat for 2 minutes while stirring and kill the heat.
In a separate pan, add the butter, red pepper, garlic, and vinegar. Heat until butter is melted and add the shrimp. Heat 1 minute then flip and add the cream. Heat 1 more minute and remove from heat.
Plate by placing a small amount of rice in a prep bowl and flip into a pasta bowl. Ladle the etoufee around the rice and top with two of head-one shrimp and spoon some of the spicy sauce. Enjoy and worry not about lent!