My date with Lousiana Crawfish Etouffee - Hot or Not


Lousiana Crawfish Etouffee

Such promise! I thought this was going to be an absolute gem of a dish. I saw the picture on Pinterest a few days ago and thought – that looks lush! Even the name makes you think of someone slightly pained, artistic and interesting with a thick dark quiff. I then did some discreet online stalking and found out that the Etouffee is quite a popular item. Many a cook seem to have fallen for the juicy devil. I made a decision, Friday night, let’s see if there might be something in it.

I saw myself falling in love with the new exciting taste, sauce dripping down my chin. I'd be licking my fingers and cleaning the plate with a slice of my home-made butter-dripping garlic bread.  

I made careful preparations. I studied recipes, threw a couple of tweets about. I made sure my herbs were fresh. I sharpened my knives and polished my measuring cups.

I had sourced beautiful pink and plump crawfish tails from Waitrose. We are not talking stinky Lidl. Waitrose, people! So they were not live Louisiana crawfish, we are in Ealing after all and it’s February, so some slack must be cut! But I have used these very same supermarket tails in other recipes. I remember a salad of fresh vegetables and these little babies slathered in a delicious mayonnaise sauce, and there is nothing wrong with them. They are not to blame. I might give the salad with the sumptuous mayonnaise a call soon, come to think of it.

So getting ready, I cut the veggies carefully and precisely, not in my normal haphazard chop. Then very slowly and patiently I sautéed the vegetables in the most buttery butter and let the taste develop over low heat for a long time, caressing the delicate vegetables with my wooden spoon. I made sure that the crawfish was perfectly cooked, pink and succulent and rice was lovely, every grain steamed with love and care.

And then we met, we sat down and first it was all exciting and ooh hello aren’t you lovely and oh you smell good, is that parsley - I LOVE parsley!!! But then it slowly started to dawn that we had very little in common. I just didn’t find the jokes funny, I laughed of course, so that it wouldn't be awkward, but actually I didn’t get the Etouffee! I couldn't put my finger on it, it was perfectly lovely, but it just didn't make me want more. I actually preferred the Garlic bread. I know it’s horrible, but I could have gone home with the Garlic bread. 

I didn’t! I know what garlic bread is like. It's so tempting to succumb to it's easy charms, but the next morning you wake up with guilt pounding in the back your head and a bad breath.

I don’t think I made much of an impression either. I’m sure he wouldn't have been keen to introduce me to his Southern crustacean friends. I can see that they would have found me awfully uptight and stuck in my European ways. Imagine I'd started to go on about the Scandinavian tradition of cooking crayfish in dill water! 

So with a gentle peck on the cheek we said good night. Bye bye Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee – I’ll think of you fondly - you are lovely, it’s not you, it’s me (or my cooking). You deserve someone who really appreciates you and loves you for what you are. If I ever come to Louisiana I will look you up and maybe you can show me how it's really done!

Recipe for Louisiana Crawfish Étouffée

I have never eaten this dish, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I looked up a couple of different recipes online. This one looked most authentic, so I followed it apart from the crawfish puree which I didn't have. And I halved the recipe. Some recipes use tomato. I'm sure it's lovely both ways.

There was nothing wrong with it - just somehow it didn't make me think I want to cook it again. With some dishes, while I'm still eating it I'm already thinking: When can I have this again. That didn't happen with this one.

Maybe because I've never had it, I didn't season it right - I kind of went with the recipe, I didn't make it too hot, but gave it some kick. Or maybe the lack of the puree made the difference. If I see it on a menu in a good restaurant I might try.

You Might Also Like