Crawfish Étouffée Nachos
By Anh Luu at Tapalaya
Serves 8–10 | 1 hour and 30 minutes active time
This dish is a wonderful hang-out food to share with a group of friends. The recipe is straightforward, but it has many ingredients, and the order in which you cook things matters. Follow the order outlined below. This recipe yields approximately four quarts of crawfish etouffee, which you can easily freeze and save for later. One pack of wonton wrappers will produce about 80 chips if cut in half.
If deep-frying is too great an undertaking, Anh recommends Hood River’s Juanita’s Tortilla Chips for a delicious Pacific Northwest alternative.
1/2 pound butter
1 pound all-purpose flour
2 yellow onions, large dice
2 red and green bell peppers, large dice
4 stalks celery, large dice
3 quarts chicken broth
2 cups canned ground tomato
1 bay leaf
1 stalk lemon grass, pounded and minced
1/3 cup Cajun seasoning (Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic recommended)
2 tablespoons Crystal hot sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce (Squid Brand recommended)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fried chili paste
1 lime, juice only
5.6-ounce can minced prawns (Yeo’s brand recommended)
2 quarts oil for deep-frying (rice bran oil recommended)
1 pack 40 wonton wrappers, cut diagonally in half
2 pounds pre-cooked and shelled crawfish tail meat
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup grated cotija cheese
1 cup green onions, sliced thin
1 bunch cilantro, rough chop
In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter completely, then whisk in the flour to make a roux. Make sure the roux is smooth with no flour lumps. Cook on medium-low for 7–10 minutes stirring continuously with a whisk. The roux consistency should look like smooth, wet sand. There should be no change in color. Simply cook down the flour taste.
Add onions, bell peppers, and celery. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir until veggies are coated in roux. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the roux does not burn.
Add chicken broth, ground tomato, bay leaf, lemon grass, Cajun seasoning, Crystal hot sauce, fish sauce, garlic, fried chili paste, lime juice, and can of minced prawns. Do not add crawfish until the very end of cooking. Cook on high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer with medium heat and cook until onions turn translucent, about 45 minutes. In another pot, heat the oil for deep frying until it reaches 300˚F.
While the etouffee is cooking, deep-fry the wonton chips. If the oil is too hot, the chips will brown quickly and taste burned. Chips are finished frying once they cease to sizzle or bubble. Lay the chips on a paper bag to drain oil. Lightly salt chips when warm.
When the onions turn translucent, taste the etouffee. If you want a saltier or spicier etouffee, add more fish sauce or fried chili paste (careful, the chili paste is melt-your-face spicy).
Add crawfish and bring back to a simmer. Then turn heat off immediately. The crawfish is pre-cooked, therefore only warm up the crawfish in the etouffee. The crawfish étouffée is now ready to ladle over wonton chips. Be sure to sprinkle a good amount of cheddar cheese, cotija cheese, green onions, and cilantro over the top of the nachos. Enjoy!