Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Etoufée

One of my favorite Cajun dishes is shrimp or crawfish etouffée. I can't remember where or when I had it for the first time, all I know is that I love it. In 1999 I belonged to an Emeril-centric Yahoo! group and I'm pretty sure that's where I got my favorite recipe for roux-based etouffée. "Etouffée" means "smothered," and is essentially a protein, usually crawfish or shrimp, smothered in sauce. Some say roux-based etouffées aren't authentic. Some use tomatoes. I say it's a fairly simple preparation involving roux, the Trinity, stock, and seafood.

When I asked my Mother-in-Law what she wanted for Mother's Day dinner, she requested shrimp etouffée. I was delighted, as I haven't made it in a while. Unfortunately...

...I lost my recipe.

Oh, it's probably somewhere among the files for my oft-started, never-finished cookbook, but I didn't have the time to search for the discs. I consulted the Emeril board but the oldest etouffée recipe posted only went back to 2001, at which time I was no longer a member. So I browsed the internet until I found a simple roux-based recipe, coincidentally one of Emeril's.

It was a disaster. Despite using equal proportions of butter and flour, the roux was liquidy and the "peanut butter" shade called for was too pale for my tastes. It was also not enough to adequately thicken 2.5 cups of shrimp stock. The end product was more like a Stouffer's version of gumbo than a proper etouffée. But my MIL seemed to enjoy it, and I suppose that's all that counts in this case.

I also made Creme Brulée a l'Orange from a recipe at Epicurious.com, and that turned out very well. Mr Minx did the brulée-ing with our little kitchen torch so there was plenty of crunchy sugar topping, and I garnished the ramekins with supremes of naval orange that had soaked in Grand Marnier overnight. I'd definitely make that one again.

What did you cook for Mother's Day? Or did you fight the crowds and go out for brunch or dinner?