Crawfish Etouffee works well with crawfish and/or shrimp and we serve it with either steamed rice or cornbread. We can buy frozen cleaned crawfish at a local Japanese grocery store. Asian groceries generally tend to have a wide variety of seafood in their freezer cases. I heartily recommend doing some exploring if you’re feeling daring. We even made this dish as an accompaniment to fried frog legs once. You can totally just use shrimp. The first ingredient of this recipe is butter, but you can easily substitute oil if you prefer not to use butter. The butter that the dish is finished with is unnecessary and can be left out entirely. I’m not sure we’ve ever used it. If you have fresh garden tomatoes, great, otherwise I would just use canned diced tomatoes. In my opinion, they are better than grocery-store tomatoes, anymore. You can also use a fresh jalapeno or habanero instead of the hot sauce.
For years, we made this recipe using a high-quality instant bouillon for the shrimp stock. It’s delicious just with that. A couple of years ago, however, we started freezing our shrimp shells every time we had shrimp and learned that they make excellent stock. Once you have a few meals’ worth of shrimp shells in the freezer, throw them into a pot and put enough water over them to just cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or two; it should taste of shrimp when you’re done. If you don’t need all of the stock immediately, the leftovers can be re-frozen to use in another dish later on.
At the end of the day, remember that whatever protein you use might have a different cooking time. We tend to use either small shrimp, or cleaned frozen crawfish that may be already cooked, so we always add the protein last and don’t let it cook more than a couple of minutes.