If you're familiar with Cajun cuisine then you know about roux. And if you know about roux, you know it's a sacred pillar of the cuisine, revered, and ALWAYS made with a mixture of copious amounts of butter and flour. The shrimp etouffee recipe above would typically call for no less than 1/2 cup of butter - let that sink in for a minute. Now let's focus our righteous indignation where it belongs.
If you're still with me, (I assume if you're still reading this, there exists at least a modicum of trust), then you'll make your roux forever more with extra virgin olive oil and never look back. It will be our delicious, healthy little secret.
1/2 cup Baklouti Olive Oil, or any single varietal extra virgin olive oil of your choice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
4 cups chicken, shrimp or vegetable stock
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 bunch of green onions, sliced
Steamed white rice, for serving
In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, add Baklouti Olive Oil or extra virgin olive oil of your choice. Add the flour, stir it to combine well, and then babysit it. Continuously stir the flour to make a roux - this can take up to 10 minutes and needs your constant attention lest the flour burn. Stir the roux over medium heat until it reaches a deep caramel brown color.
Add all the vegetables and garlic to the roux, and saute until the vegetables become soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the mixture and stir cooking for another minute. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and stock. Whisk constantly over medium until the mixture becomes smooth and begins to simmer. Turn down the heat to low, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Cook partially covered over low heat, keeping the pot at a simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the shrimp to the pot and cook for approximately 5 more minutes.
Serve immediately over steamed white rice with sliced green onions and more Baklouti for drizzling.
**Disclaimer - this recipe is designed to have a spicy kick. If you still want some of the taste of the Baklouti Olive Oil but desire something a bit more mild, go with 1/4 cup Baklouti and 1/4 cup single varietal extra virgin olive oil of your choice.
Serves 6-8 (with leftovers as the sauce gets even better the next day)