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Old 02-29-2020, 11:17 AM   #1
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Oils in Cajun cooking?

Good weekend, fellow cooks!

Last week was Mardi Gras, and I saw a simple recipe for shrimp etouffee in hte Washington Post. Well, I decided to use leftover chicken, but was left with some questions about the recipe.

https://www.copymethat.com/r/7KhbHBu...ipe-that-gets/

First, the oil. Surely olive oil is not what would normally be used? I'm just curious, not judgmental about "authentic enough" or not (particularly when I'm using chicken!) I used the grapeseed oil I was trying to use up, as I'm guessing a neutral oil would be the more usual choice. And, in fact, I bet that in "authentic" cajun cooking (as opposed to creole), the fat of choice would be lard. Anyone know about this?

Second, the lack of tomatoes. I'm guessing that, on the other hand, it IS authentic to cook this without tomatoes.

And finally, since there was no tomatoes, stock, or other liquid added to this dish, it came out more like a taco filling rather than a sauce. I'm guessing that's authentic too, but am not sure, since cajun cooking is "peasant cooking" generically speaking, and the intent would be to stretch that dish as far as possible.

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Old 02-29-2020, 11:35 AM   #2
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Butter is the norm for the fat in Cajun cooking, since New Orleans was settled by the French, and it's supposed to be more like a stew, to be served over rice.

Here's a more authentic recipe for étoufée, from Emeril Lagasse. There are a lot of differences between his and WaPo's.

https://www.emerils.com/126622/shrimp-etouffee
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:18 PM   #3
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There's a Justin Wilson etouffe recipe that has no tomatoes and very, very little liquid. JW was Cajun through and through. I sort of follow his recipe, but I always add liquid since we like it more gravy like.

If butter isn't used, it's going to be vege or peanut oil.
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:21 PM   #4
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paul prudhomme etouffee
paul prudhomme crawfish etouffee recipe Archives - Nola Cuisine
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Old 02-29-2020, 02:29 PM   #5
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The following is from Paul's book "Louisiana Kitchen".

"Oil: Peanut oil is best for deep frying, especially when you're using a batter on the food. It gives a "nutty taste more quickly than other oils.

Recipes in which foods are deep fried merely specify vegetable oil, because any fresh (unused) cooking oil is certainly acceptable, but put peanut oil on your market list! Vegetable oil is best for pan frying (see Panéed foods farther on).

At times, I call for both butter and oil in the same recipe. I want the taste of butter, but butter alone doesn't have enough oil in it to produce the action needed in some dishes-for example, to caramelize vegetables. I usually prefer the taste of margarine to olive or vegetable oil for frying when butter is also being used, and margarine does have enough oil in it to do what I want."
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Old 02-29-2020, 04:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
There's a Justin Wilson etouffe recipe that has no tomatoes and very, very little liquid. JW was Cajun through and through. I sort of follow his recipe, but I always add liquid since we like it more gravy like.

If butter isn't used, it's going to be vege or peanut oil.
Was watching Strictly Dumpling on you tube and as he starts his food tour of New Orleans, he explains that Cajun food doesn't use tomatoes and Creole food does. Never heard that before. Never been to New Orleans either.
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Old 03-03-2020, 08:57 PM   #7
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All I can speak for is what I learned in Port Arthur from my friends cajun moms and mawmaws. I didn't go by books, because books couldn't slap my if I did something wrong.

Etouffee is both a cajun and a creole dish, so you can't really pin it down precisely.

Tomatoes in Creole, no tomatoes in Cajun. Other things differ, but those are the main two that I can think of.

I don't use olive oil for roux. I use canola. That's what I was taught. Grapeseed oil is okay. Neutral, good smoke point. It'll work. NEVER Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a roux -- too delicate. If your food begins with a roux, go with a neutral, high smoke point oil oil. Don't bother with lard. Not really needed for something finer like etouffee, and not appropriate for shrimp. Pork and shrimp are just not mixed down there. Shrimp is too light and delicate in flavor for a big hit of pork fat.

Same the lard for some cracklins.

Another thing I was taught is yes to butter, but add it later in the cook. It is like adding heavy cream to some cuisines near the end for a silkiness. Don't cook with it.

Those are my random thoughts.

CD

BTW Pellice, I was actually born in New Jersey (the Pork Roll) end, I fell in love with Cajun when my family moved to Cajun Country. If you like good immigrant Italian food, you will love Cajun. Same spirit behind them -- good cooks making good food out of what was available in their new home.

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Old 03-04-2020, 06:13 AM   #8
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Pork and shrimp are just not mixed down there. Shrimp is too light and delicate in flavor for a big hit of pork fat.

Same the lard for some cracklins.


CD
Cuisines are so interesting! Pork and shrimp are mixed in paellas, particularly Portuguese. Does anyone know of other cuisines where the shellfish and pork are mixed? (They certainly were not in my Midwestern home town. I don't believe my Mom ever cooked shrimp even once!)
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Old 03-04-2020, 09:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pellice View Post
Cuisines are so interesting! Pork and shrimp are mixed in paellas, particularly Portuguese. Does anyone know of other cuisines where the shellfish and pork are mixed? (They certainly were not in my Midwestern home town. I don't believe my Mom ever cooked shrimp even once!)
Asian cuisines sometimes combine shrimp and pork in dumplings and stir-fries.
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