Crayfish, mudbugs, crawdads — whatever their name, they are good! Crawfish are available from January through June, shrimp is an acceptable substitute.
1 onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pound can whole tomatoes in puree, drained, reserving 2 tablespoons puree, and chopped fine
1/2 cup water
cayenne pepper to taste
1 pound bag frozen crawfish tail meat, thawed
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
In a heavy skillet cook onion and bell pepper in butter, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
Sprinkle flour over onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and reserved puree, water, and cayenne and simmer, stirring, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute.
Stir in crawfish and heat mixture over moderate heat until just hot.
Etouffee may be prepared up to this point 2 days ahead, cooled completely, uncovered, and chilled, covered.
Reheat etouffee before proceeding.
Stir in scallions and salt to taste.
To serve, mound some rice in a plate, and ladle some of the etouffee on top.