Crawfish EtoufeeIf there is any single image I keep of my grandmother Schexnayder, it is her cooking a big batch of crawfish etoufee for us when we would come in the door to visit.
She would diligently stir the huge pile of onions as they steamed up and filled the kitchen with their glorious sweet smell. That first bowl of etoufee - invariably accompanied by a piece of French bread from Lejune's Bakery - was simply divine.
Years later I found that she had gotten the recipe from her brother-in-law, Uncle Pete. He, in turn, had gotten it out of an old copy of Louisiana Life Magazine. Because even though etoufee is the most rich and glorious dish of South Louisiana cuisine, it is probably the simplest to prepare. The trick to it is getting good crawfish crawfish with the fat.
Mince the onion, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-high flame. Add the vegetables and cook until soft. Stir in the flour. Add the crawfish tails and fat. Add hot water and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir occasionally and cook until tails are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add parsley and onion tops and serve over rice or fettuccini noodles.
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