Eric Arceneaux, the executive chef of the Big Eddy Club, grew up in Lafayette, La. He said he had two career choices — become a chef or work on an oil rig. He chose to cook. Arceneaux, though a classically-trained French chef, loves to cook the food he grew up eating. So he added several Cajun dishes to the menu at the private club in Green Island Hills.
Today, he’s demonstrating how make crawfish etouffée. In French, etouffée means “smothered.” So in Louisiana cooking, the crawfish is smothered in a liquid. Instead of crawfish, Arceneaux says medium shrimp can be used.
1 /2 pound butter 3 /4 cup flour 1 /4 cup diced shallots 1 /4 cup diced celery 1 /4 cup diced green bell peppers 1 cup finely chopped onion 1 teaspoon salt 1 1 /2 teaspoons cayenne red pepper 1 teaspoon white pepper 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves 1 /2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 7 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 cups basic seafood stock (can used store-bought stock, but try to find the low sodium) 2 pounds crawfish tails (shelled) 4 cups of cooked rice
Over medium high heat, make a brown roux with the butter and flour. Melt the butter and whisk in the flour a little at a time. Cook the roux until brown.
Add shallots, celery, bell peppers and onion and cook until the vegetables are done.
Add the spices (the red, white and black pepper, basil and thyme). Mix well.
Add the stock a little at a time, whisking the entire time.
Make sure everything is mixed well.
About the time you want to eat, in another pan, sauté the crawfish tails in vegetable oil. If there is excess liquid in the pan, discard the liquid.
Add the crawfish to the mixture.
Serve over rice.
Makes eight servings.