Today is what many refer to as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras: the last day of Carnival – a period of celebration and feasting before the fasting of the Lenten season. Although not the original location of Mardi Gras, New Orleans is particularly famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations complete with floats, beads, bands, and of course, deeply rooted Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Infused with French flair and flavor, New Orleans at any time of the year generates thoughts of King Cakes, po’ boys, and beignets. But another item among the favorite local fare is etouffee, a dish characterized by a cooking technique called “smothering”.
Etouffee is a shellfish dish – typically using crawfish, crab, or shrimp, made from a roux based sauce and served over rice. It can be made with either a Creole or Cajun bent, depending on the spices used. While not completely the same, there are similarities in both versions.
No matter which version you prefer or which style, a culinary student studying world cuisines and a seafood lover alike is sure to welcome the traditional taste and celebration that occurs in and around this festive regional dish.
“As a child growing up in New Orleans, I have fond memories of Cajun and Creole cooking. Some of my favorite dishes include Shrimp Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice, King Cake, Beignets and Oysters. Shrimp Etouffee is basically a spicy shrimp gravy over rice – what’s not to love? The dish is the same but the presentation for this Shrimp Etouffee is closer to restaurant style. I hope you enjoy this taste of the Big Easy!”
Chef Albert Schmid, MA / Chef Instructor, CEC, CCE, CCA, CHE, CFBE, CHIA, CCEP, CCP, MCFE, CSS, CSW, COI, CFD
By Escoffier Chef Instructor, Albert Schmid
New Orleans Spice Blend
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds fresh shrimp with shells
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons oil
- ½ cup diced onion
- ½ cup diced green pepper
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup diced tomatoes
- 1 ¾ cups shrimp stock
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ cup sliced green onion
- 2 cups cooked rice
- In a small bowl, mix the spices together for the spice blend until evenly distributed.
- Drain shrimp. Peel shrimp. Add ½ the spice blend and toss.
- Add the shells in a small pot with 3 cups of water, bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Then strain.
- In a large frying pan add the oil, onions, green pepper and celery and heat until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook. Then add the remaining spice blend.
- Add the flour to the vegetables and stir until well incorporated. Cook for about five minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook until the mixture begins to brown a little.
- Whisk 1¾ cups of the shrimp stock into the vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring the whole time until the mixture resembles a gravy. Add the lemon juice and the hot sauce.
- Stir the shrimp into the etouffee sauce. Simmer until the shrimp are cooked.
- Add the etouffee sauce to the bottom of a warm plate. Top with a small mound of rice in the middle.
- Arrange the cooked shrimp around the plate. Garnish with green onion.
Watch this demonstration by Chef Albert to learn how to make shrimp etouffee.
Interested in the culinary or pastry arts? Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts can help you discover new tastes, techniques, and comprehensive training. To learn more about our on-campus or online programs, connect with an admissions advisor to explore all the opportunities available to you.
Enjoyed this tasty article? Here are three mouth-watering more to discover:
- Auguste Escoffier’s Classic Dessert: Cherries Jubilee
- Plant-Based Brownies – Yes, Please!
- Emphasizing Fresh Homemade Condiments
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.