Just a FYI that I slightly updated the etoufee recipe. I cut the amount of garlic in half (smudge on my original notes) and specified how much salt, cayenne, and black pepper I use. Other than that, everything is the same.
Thought I’d share this catfish courtbouillon recipe that I cooked last night for Robin. It’s not her recipe, but she gets naming rights since I cooked it for her. A few caveats here before I get started. First, nobody in my family cooked a courtbouillon at all. I was first exposed to it by the cook at our duck camp and instantly took to it. Second, I kinda winged this one. I had an idea of the basics and just went with what felt right. I’m sure there will be some coonasses out there who will shake their head and say no that’s not right. Hey, maybe, but this is my gig, and I thought it turned out just as I remembered. Lastly, courtbouillon is pronounced "coo-bee-yawn" in south Louisiana. Not to be confused with couyon. Proper French pronunciations can also take a hike.
Continuing with my theme of naming dishes after the people I cook them for, I present Lael’s gumbo.
Lael is one of my dearest SF friends who I’ve really never cooked for before. Until now. The thing is, most of my culinary expertise would kill Lael. She’s allergic to shellfish and dairy. That almost rules out the entire cajun and creole spectrum. I kept trying to think of something I could cook for her and kept coming up with blanks.
When I was home for Christmas, my dad cooked up some duck gumbo while I nursed a hangover and watched college bowl games. Then it hit me. Figure out how to make a roux from animal fats and oil instead of butter, then just do a chicken and sausage gumbo. Boom!
Here’s what you’ll need to make Lael’s gumbo:
A couple of people have been asking me for my shrimp creole recipe, so I figured that I would write it up while a pot of NOLA-style black eyed peas stews for a few hours. Since I cooked it for Erin, she gets the naming rights. So without much ado, here it is: This is my take on shrimp creole. There are so many versions of this recipe, so here’s another. Personally, I don’t like shrimp creoles made from a roux. That’s more like a shrimp sauce piquant in my book. Rouxs are typical of Cajun cuisine. Shrimp Creole is creole NOLA cuisine — not Cajun. This is why the two dishes are separate in my mind, and why mine isn’t made from a roux. I could be totally off base here, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
By now you should know the drill here. Someone in San Francisco asks me to make them a Cajun or Creole dish, I cook it for them, name it after them, and then write it up here. So, here’s the next installment: Stephanie’s Shrimp Étouffée. First up, the pronunciation — it’s AY-two-FAY….not eh-two-fay. AY (like the letter) – two (like the number) – FAY (rhymes with hay). Now, Stephanie asked me to cook for her one night (actually, she demanded “COOK ME DINNER MAN!”) so I dusted off an old recipe. I prefer to cook this with crawfish, but you can’t really get crawfish in San Francisco. Definitely not like you can in New Orleans (1lb bags of tail meat). So this dish uses shrimp as alternative; it’s OK but not quite the same. Also, I add more butter at the end as a substitute to the crawfish fat that comes in the bags of tail meat. If you use crawfish, nix the final butter addition.