The Importance Of Self Motivated Culinary Research!
Cajun cooking requires many specific ingredients and unique cooking techniques. Cajun cuisine can be described as a combination of 300 year old French cooking techniques combined with new world ingredients. Many Spanish, Native American and African food items have been incorporated into Cajun cuisine and the result is unique flavors that are unsurpassed.
A few centuries ago, Cajuns created their own cuisson rules that continue to be a tradition to this day. To cook authentic Cajun food, understanding Cajun technique guidelines is necessary. Cooking shortcuts are taboo in this cuisine. Only traditional Cajun cooking methods can be used to make classic Cajun food.
Years of cooking experience will result in the ability to properly season food in a variety of international cuisines, but library research is truly the key to proficiency. I spent years at public libraries reading old dusty classic international cuisine books. I actually wrote volumes of notes, while reading and researching. None of this culinary research was required by a chef school or job. The effort to learn classic cuisines was self motivated and it turned into a great learning experience.
Home cooks, the restaurant dining public and upcoming chefs can all benefit by doing some self motivated culinary research. Being able to know whether a purchased meal is authentic and worth the price paid, actually is a form of consumer protection. Being able to distinguish whether a recipe is traditional or not, is the result of accumulated research knowledge. It does not matter whether the culinary research is done for thirty minutes per month or an intensive study is involved. Sooner or later, the accumulated culinary information will result in expertise!
This recipe yields 1 generous large portion for Étouffée applications. Étouffée translates to smothered!
Tomato is not always added to old time Cajun sauces, gumbo and jambalaya. There is no tomato in this recipe, but adding a little bit of tomato is an option.
Be sure to have all the ingredients ready, before starting this recipe! The vegetables will be used to stop the brown roux from cooking any further.
Be sure to wear protective clothing when making dark roux!
Step 1: Place these vegetables in a bowl and set them aside:
- 4 tablespoons of small chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons of small chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons of mixed small chopped red and green bell pepper
Step 2: Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring with a wire whisk. (The roux should be shiny looking and not caky! )
Constantly stir, till the roux is a dark brown color. (A brown roux will scorch and taste bitter, if it is not constantly stirred!)
Step 3: Immediately add the reserved vegetables and stir.
Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic.
Add 1 chopped green onion.
Stir till the garlic becomes aromatic.
Step 4: Add 2 1/3 cups of shrimp stock or broth.
Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
Add 3 ounces of shelled crawfish tails. (Be sure to add the orange fat from behind the crawfish heads.)
Add 3 ounces of sliced andouille sausage. (about 1/4" thick)
Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, while stirring occasionally.
Reduce the the temperature to low heat.
Step 5: Add each of these herbs:
- 2 pinches of thyme
- 1 pinch of tarragon
- 1 pinch of marjoram
- 1 pinch of oregano
- 1 pinch of basil
Add 1/2 teaspoon of chopped parsley.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. (or to taste)
Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
Add black pepper and sea salt to taste.
Step 6: Slowly simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
Keep the Cajun Crawfish and Andouille Sauce warm over very low heat. Add a splash of water if the sauce becomes too thick.
Cajun Crawfish and Andouille Omelette Étouffée:
A 2 egg omelette is petite and a 3 egg omelette is a full portion. The omelette in the photos was petite.
For Louisiana style omelets, a few golden highlights on an omelette is traditional. This creates more flavor!
Step 1: Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of unsalted butter.
Add 2 whisked large eggs. (Or 3 large eggs for a full portion.)
Even the edges of the omelette with a rubber spatula.
Step 2: Flip the omelette when the bottom half is cooked firm.
Step 3: When the omelette is cooked firm and the eggs are fully cooked with golden highlights, remove the pan from the heat.
Spoon a small portion of the Cajun Crawfish and Andouille on the omelette.
Triple fold the omelette while sliding it onto a plate.
Step 4: Spoon a generous portion of the Cajun Crawfish and Andouille Sauce over the omelette. The omelette should looked like it is smothered in sauce. (Étouffée)
Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion over the omelette.
This Louisiana Cajun Crawfish and Andouille Omelette Étouffée is tasty beyond belief!