Fridays during Lent, for a Catholic usually mean dinner without meat. Or fish fries. For some reason, it’s okay to eat fish, just not meat. It’s no secret that I HATE eating fish. I’m not a picky eater but I can’t think of any one food that will actually make me gag more than fish. I can eat shell fish all day long (especially crab legs drenched in butter or shrimp scampi) just not the kind of fish that you have to “scale”. lol NOT a good Catholic. I was raised very strict Catholic and we upheld the Lenten rules. We were told that it was a way of “fasting” to show Jesus that we appreciate his dying on the cross so that we can go to heaven. I’ve fallen away from the Catholic church for the most part but I still DO observe some of their teachings. The “Catholic Guilt” has never left me though.
All my adult life, I’ve not observed Lent. I just felt like it was stupid to believe that Jesus wanted us to eat fish only on Friday’s during Lent. Another thing we do is “give up” or sacrifice something that we really enjoy all through the week (again, only during Lent) but we get it back on Sundays. Who comes up with this stuff? I feel like a good “fast” is fine and even can be productive but why do we do this kind of thing only during Lent? IDK… I’m not knocking it for other people but it just didn’t make sense for me. So yeah, I’m a very bad Catholic. AND I feel guilty about it. lol
Crazy girl Esme’
Tonight, my 4 year old niece is coming over to spend the night with her adoring Aunt Michelle (me) and she is being raised very strict Catholic, just like my brother and I were. Did I mention that I’m also her Godmother? That means that I’ve promised before God and our family and friends to help raise little Esme’ Catholic. It’s Friday so we’re not allowed to feed her meat so what do I do? I consult the Great Paula Deen is what I do! lol I’m going to make Creole style shrimp etouffee for the second time in my life! It’s actually delicious! What makes it Creole and not Cajun? The fact that tomatoes are added. True Cajun Etouffee’ does not have tomatoes and it calls for crawfish, not shrimp. Originally, I mean. Now days, they throw a little of everything in the pot. Etouffee is the French word for “smothered”. Anything smothered.
Food historians trace back Louisiana crawfish etouffee to the crawfish capital of the world, Breaux Bridges, Louisiana. According to culinary history, etouffee was first served in the Hebert Hotel in the early 1920s when Mrs. Hebert, along with her daughters, Yoli and Marie, made crawfish etouffee using crawfish tails, crawfish fat, onions and pepper. Later on, the Heberts shared their recipe with their friend, Aline Guidry Champagne. Ms. Champagne later opened a restaurant, the RendezVous Café, and began serving the dish there. Now days, the recipe has been altered. We use a thicker sauce and we use oil and NOT crawfish fat. Yuk. We also use other types of shellfish.
Here’s the recipe:
Shrimp Etouffee (Creole Style)
Adapted from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large yellow onion (I always use Vidallia or sweet)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Creole seasoning
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (green onions) (plus extra for garnish)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
2 or 3 dashes of hot sauce (or more if you like more heat)
1 8 oz bottle clam juice
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 lbs small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 TBSP (1/2 stick) butter
6 cups cooked rice (for serving)
1. In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan (or Dutch oven), combine the oil and flour over low heat to prepare the roux. Whisk the flour into the oil to form a paste. Continue cooking over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma. 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the black pepper, white pepper and cayenne pepper, Creole seasoning, 1/2 cup green onions, parsley and hot sauce. Pour in the clam juice and diced tomatoes, stirring to blend. Add salt, starting with 1 teaspoon, then add more if you like. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Add the shrimp and stir. It will take only about 3 minutes for the shrimp to cook, so be sure you don’t overcook them (they’ll be rubbery if you do). Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the butter. The heat from the dish will melt the butter. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.
Serves 6 to 8 as a main course
Happy Friday and enjoy YOUR fish during this Lent season!