A trip to N’awlins is all about the food. Ragin’ Cajun everything from cocktails to seafood. Étouffée is one of my favorite dishes. It begins with a slowly cooked roux that deepens the nutty, rich quality of the sauce. A simple spice mix creates the distinct flavor, and a trinity of finely chopped onion, celery and pepper is the tradition. I like to chop the shrimp so that each piece swims in the sauce. Instead of a scoop of rice, I use my favorite cauliflower rice to further the veggie quotient in the dish. It all comes together in minutes, so it’s perfect for a weekday meal.
With a Scoopful of Cauliflower Rice
40 Minute Cuisine
When company comes a callin’, feel free to double the recipe and let it simmer until you’re ready to serve. Just remember to add the shrimp at the last minute.
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ head cauliflower, trimmed and finely chopped into rice-size pieces (you can use a food processor for this)
1 to 2 cups homemade chicken stock or prepared low sodium broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 medium red onion, finely diced
4 celery stalks, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
8 ounces diced tomatoes
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of ½ lemon, about 1 tablespoon
4 to 6 drops hot pepper sauce
¾ pounds fresh jumbo shrimp, (21 – 25 shrimp per pound), previously frozen, thawed, tails removed, chopped into ½-inch pieces
3 green onions, finely sliced
Heat two tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower. Season with some of the salt and pepper. Toss the cauliflower in the melted butter to coat. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of the chicken broth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the cauliflower until it is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes. As the liquid disappears add more (a little bit at a time) until the cauliflower is as tender as rice.
Stir together the paprika, garlic powder, thyme, oregano and black pepper in a small bowl.
Heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook until the roux becomes caramel colored, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Season with half of the spice mix. Cook until the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes more. Pour in the tomatoes and clam juice. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is thick, about 5 to 8 minutes more. Add the lemon juice and as much hot pepper sauce as you like. Taste and season with salt.
Toss the chopped shrimp with the remaining spice mix. Add the shrimp to the sauce. Cook until the shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes.
Serve shrimp etouffee in a shallow bowl with a scoop of cauliflower rice in the center, and garnish with green onion.