Etouffee is a French / Creole dish that I learned in New Orleans. It literally means to "smother", so basically it is a seafood dish where the seafood is smothered with a rich buttery gravy. You can use any type of seafood really, although the classic preparation uses Mississippi mud bugs, otherwise known as crawfish. Since crawfish is actually somewhat difficult to come by here in the islands (I've only ever seen frozen crawfish tails at Daiei), I've substituted some other mixed seafood.
Here's what you'll need (notice the precise measuring system I use):
Some Garlic (minced or whole is fine)
Some plain tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce or tomato paste)
Some cajun seasonings, in this cause I've used Big Kevin's Bayou Blend, but your favorite blend will work
So here's what you do:
Country Crock, I've done it before. But seeing as how this was Thanksgiving, I didn't feel like holding anything back, so I opted for the real thing, for the real full bodied taste. At least I didn't go completely old school and use pure lard.
Next you can sprinkle in some minced garlic. If you like garlic like me and my wife, you want to add a lot. Unfortunately, my uncle doesn't like garlic, so I limited myself to 2 butter knife bladefuls. But feel free to add more. You want to brown the garlic in your roux. But all the while, you want to keep stirring (although you can stir a little more slowly now). Never let a roux sit still or it will burn. You must keep stirring even if it feels like your arm will fall off. When your roux is the color of a shiny new penny, then you're done.
Stir your seafood around for just a minute or two. Just long enough to cook it "rare". Then you can cover the whole thing with your tomato sauce. I used about 2 cans.
The whole recipe is pretty simple (once you get the hang of making a good roux). And it's pretty fast to cook too. Total time is only about 20 minutes. I would say before you start making this, start cooking your pot of rice. When the rice is done, your etouffee can stop simmering, and you're ready to serve it over the rice.
The seafood etouffee is a spicy, savory, buttery melange that you just can't get easily here in the islands. Sometimes, when you want something truly special, you just have to make it with your own hands.