Blue Crab Créole

A bounty of fresh garden vegetables including green bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and celery, with loads of herbs and fresh spices like thyme, oregano, bay and cayenne.

Toss in a pound of Gulf blue crab and serve over steamed rice topped with garlic chives.  Don’t forget the hot sauce!

I eat Créole whenever I have the chance, which is a lot.  If you need it, here’s an easily adaptable recipe for the base.

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The Gulf of Mexico (Spanish: Golfo de México) is an ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba.  In Texas and Louisiana it is often called the “Third Coast,” in comparison with the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts.  –Wikipedia

Crawfish Etouffee

Étouffée is a Cajun/Creole dish of crawfish, crab or shrimp smothered in a roux-thickened sauce of celery, onions and bell peppers with garlic, spices and a little sherry.  In New Orleans, étouffée is commonly served with jasmine or basmati rice..

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Crawfish Étouffée

(recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse and others)

Serves 2

1/2 stick unsalted, pastured butter
1 tablespoon organic, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped yellow onions
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock* (shrimp shells, water, celery, onion, bay, thyme, lemon)
12 oz crawfish tails
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until it begins to brown.  Add flour and whisk to combine.  Continue to cook and stir continuously until the roux takes on a dark, brown-red color.

Add the celery, onions and bell peppers (called the holy trinity of Cajun cooking) and cook for 5 minutes.

Add garlic, green onions, tomatoes, Worcestershire, bay, thyme, cayenne and cracked pepper and stir to combine.

Add shrimp stock (or water), sherry and crawfish tails, bring to a boil then reduce to low heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Add fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley, taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

Serve over rice and garnish with lemon wedges and very finely minced green onion, bell pepper, celery and parsley.  Offer Louisiana hot sauce.

* Mineral-rich shrimp is high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, Vitamin B12 and niacin.  Use some of the shrimp stock to cook the rice; it helps to make it more digestible.

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