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Dec 19, 2007 10:53 AM

crawfish help needed

I have been asked to make crawfish etouffe one evening during the holidays which is not a tough one. What I wanted to know is who sells the best crawfish tails? I don't mind frozen but I do prefer some big tails and preferably local.
Any help would be great. Please stick to New Orleans/Metairie if you have suggestions.

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  1. whatever you do don't buy frozen
    if you don't wanna peel them yourself
    go to dorignac's - read the label and make sure you are getting the right ones - no china
    also - hot tip - add tiny amt of crab boil - trust

    12 Replies
    1. re: jamielynn

      Thanks so much. What a great idea. Well, I went to Dorignacs and all they had yesterday were the frozen tails, but I got the local Louisiana crawfish. I guess I could try and find some tails that I could pick myself and add to the etouffe.
      Great idea about the crab boil? BUT, do I just add some of the dust to the mixture or do I let it soak up the "tea bag" of crab boil? At what point do you add it?
      I have enjoyed looking up the recipes. Each one has just a little change. Some add lemon, some add tomato paste, some tomato sauce, some use cornstarch (yuck) some make a roux and others add flour that has been mixed in water. I may just start and experiment. The one true element in common is a stick of butter in addition to the standard creole chopped seasoning.
      Thanks for replying. Dorignacs had what I needed.

      1. re: mikey

        Yeah...I'm not a fan of all those variations...the package actually has a recipe...and I usually doctor that up...but i keep it simple.
        But what your looking for is the liquid crab boil

        Once you've got your roux going and you add your tails in...put a drop or two in(careful this is concentrate so literally a drop then season to taste). it gives it that extra when your lips tingle from eating bolied crawfish...

        1. re: jamielynn

          If you're going to go with roux, make a stew. If you want etouffee, keep it simple and you're better off. You should taste the rich sweetness of the Louisiana crawfish, not much of anything else, except the background of the vegetables sauteed in butter.

          1. re: cajungirl

            I agree with Cajungirl. Roux = stew
            The last time I had lunch at Oak Alley Plantation, they had both Crawfish Stew and Crawfish Etouffée on the menu. The Etouffée was made with butter and no flour, only the trinity and crawfish tails/fat. The Stew was made with an oil-based roux.

            1. re: MakingSense

              For Classic Etoufee you are absolutely roux. That is the Original versionas near as I can figure out after slogging throughAcadiana for years trying to find out. All the "old versions" I encoutered have green onion added at the end and just wilted.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                As you know, it's not that common to find butter-based dishes in Cajun Country and this is an exception. I think that it may be because the roots are in what was once Petit Paris, now St. Martinville, where many members of the French aristocracy settled escaping Madame Guillotine, and also in the River Parishes, where many of the French Creoles from New Orleans had plantation homes. That also may explain the use of allspice, that Celeste mentions.
                The more plebian crawfish stew is often based on animal fat with a roux, harkening back to the days before vegetable oil would have been available in country stores. Even in my father's youth and through WWII, pork drippings were used rather than spending scarce money on the purchase of vegetable oil.

          2. re: jamielynn

            It turned out great. I took all ideas into consideration and did NOT make a roux. The crab boil is a great addition and I did not put in tomato sauce. It is incredible the amount of recipes. The big, offensive recipe called for cornstarch but the absolute best of the worst came from a co-worker who takes a stick of butter and cooks down the trinity, adds cream of mushroom soup and then two cans of tomato juice and finally the crawfish. Oh the horror!. Thanks for all the responses!

            1. re: mikey

              Now, now: those "can of cream of whatever" recipes are firmly entrenched in Acadiana, and if anyone can make Campbell's taste good, it's a bunch of cajuns. I know of a bunch of good cooks who "cheat" with cream of mushroom, cream of shrimp, cream of celery, etc. in various all of these cases, the results are light years ahead of your average midwestern soup-based casserole or hot dish (sorry, midwesterners). 'Course, those same recipes usually involve a bounty of impeccably fresh seafood; maybe the seafood negates the usual yuck factor generated by canned soup.

              But I'm wit'cha on the cornstarch: it has absolutely NO place in anything other than a tarte a la bouillie.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                I once made a rough map of the areas where mushroom soup was used. I can point to a line on LA 14 that delineates exactly one of the boundaries. My "research" points to it being a camp addition, probably to stretch it and thicken some. Your cornstarch aberration probably comes from that.
                One of the best Cajun cooks I know will use tomato but "just to get my color" as he says.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Call it Cream of Cajun soup. I had a fabulous soup at my neice's MIL's home a few years ago and she offered the recipe. Yep! There it was, with a couple of pounds of fresh seafood, cream, butter, and the trinity. Cream of Shrimp soup. Guess it saved her adding flour and seafood stock. Just bury the cans deep under the other stuff in the trash and nobody ever needs to know..

            2. re: mikey

              I think that a little bit of liquid crab boil would do da trick....

              1. re: mikey

                My personal version has no roux, no cornstarch (a travesty), and no tomatoes but it does have a pinch of allspice (which is one of the flavorings in crab boil, after all). A little lemon is always good, too.

            3. Don't cook those crawfish any longer than you absolutely must. They can get tough and rubbery, and they shrink. They've already been cooked once, to get them out of the shell. All they really need is a few short minutes in the etouffee.