Last year, we held a crawfish boil for our neighborhood, partially funded by Foodbuzz as a 24,24,24 event. This year, while we didn’t get out with our neighbors (although our next-door-neighbor did come visit and chow down), we invited a bunch of friends and family to join in the fun. My husband boiled crawfish all afternoon while all of us enjoyed the heat (okay, well, enjoy is a bit of exaggeration – it was toasty!) and ate mudbugs until we popped. Even my dear friend Cindy from Jacob’s Reward Farm visited with her family. I took extra care to be sure that the crawfish were gluten-free by contacting Zatarain’s to ensure that the spice mixes we would use were safe. (They were – hooray!) Also available to munch on were burgers and hot dogs (not so gluten-free), chips and guacamole, cookies and homemade rice krispie treats, both brought by generous guests, and even some healthy gluten-free sweet treats – carrot cake bites. In our house, if we’re hosting an event, it’s guaranteed there will be LOTS of food!
Of course, many of our friends are still not big crawfish eaters, and so we had to send a few lucky guests home with a bag of crawfish or two. And I spent some time peeling all I could handle, just so I’d have the tails for a delicious meal – etouffee. Even before our party was over, I already was envisioning the next meal.
Etouffee is a relatively straightforward Cajun dish typically served with rice. It’s similar to gumbo, but it comes together much more quickly. The dish is greater than the sum of its parts – it tastes as though it had been simmering for hours. After a busy weekend and a long day of cleanup, this was exactly the meal we needed.
Crawfish Etouffee, adapted from Emeril LaGasse’s Louisiana Real and Rustic
1 stick (1/4 lb butter)
2 c diced onions
1 c diced celery
1/2 c diced green bell pepper
1 lb crawfish tails, peeled
2 bay leaves
1/2 T potato starch
1 c water
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t cayenne
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
Melt butter in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and bell pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until soft and slightly golden. Reduce heat to medium and add the bay leaves and crawfish and saute for another 7-8 minutes or until crawfish start to give off liquid.
Mix the potato starch together with the water and pour into saute pan. Add salt and cayenne and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and cook for another minute or two. Serve with steamed rice.