If you are a lover of Creole and Cajun food then you probably like etouffee. This is the main course dish that has been around for quite a while and is found in both Cajun and Creole cuisine. The dish is very simple to make and uses a light blond roux as the base of the entree.
A roux is a mixture of butter and flour that is cooked over light heat until the desired color appears. Traditionally, a roux is used to thicken stews and soups. In this case, it is found in many dishes in the southern states as the base sauce of the dishes. It takes some patience to create the perfect roux and it cannot be rushed.
Etouffee starts with the roux and then the “holy trinity” vegetables are thrown in the pot. The holy trinity is very similar to mirepoix in French cooking. It is used in almost all of the dishes found in that cuisine. It consists of onion, green bell pepper, and celery. Once the veggies are cooked, the protein is added which is usually shellfish or seafood.
The types of shellfish most commonly used are crayfish or shrimp. That doesn’t mean that you won’t find other types of protein in the mix as well. Andouille sausage is another great protein used in etouffee as well as crab and lobster. The difference between a Cajun and Creole etouffee is one ingredient, tomatoes.
They are specifically used in Creole etouffee and not Cajun. The number of spices and seasonings used in the dish are astounding as well which bring all sorts of flavor to the meal. Needless to say, it is a highly coveted dish among many of the southern states.
While etouffee is a dish that is basically a thick gravy, it is usually served on some kind of medium. The most common is rice or dirty rice. But it can also be served over potatoes or pasta as well.
There are many combinations. So that will make it fairly difficult to come up with a side dish to serve with etouffee.
Don’t fret though because there are plenty of options available to you. Since it is a gravy type of entrée, a nice slice of bread or cornbread will help to soak up all the goodness on the plate. It just makes sense to serve these two together.
However, since etouffee is a pretty heavy dish, you may want to spruce up the meal with a light garden salad, some roasted vegetables or corn, and tomato relish. These dishes will help to cut through the richness of the entrée while bringing some nice fresh elements to the table.
We have prepared a list of some of the best side dishes to serve with etouffee below. It can be kind of tricky to figure out what to serve but this list will help you figure it all out. Keep reading on to find out what your next side dish will be with your etouffee tonight!
- 9 Side Dishes To Serve With Etouffee
- Best Desserts To Serve With Etouffee
- Top Wines To Serve With Etouffee
- What Kind Of Protein Should I Put In My Etouffee To Serve?
- Final Words
9 Side Dishes To Serve With Etouffee
As mentioned before, a great slice of fresh-baked bread will go a long way with a dish like etouffee. Since the dish does come inspired by the French cooking cuisine, it just makes sense to serve a French type of bread with the meal. Baguette bread is one of the classics and is usually readily available at most supermarkets already baked for you.
The crunchy exterior and soft interior of the bread make it perfect for soaking up liquids and scooping up ingredients at the same time. You may not even need a fork to eat your etouffee tonight if you have a nice baguette to go with it!
If you like fried vegetables, then this is a crowd-pleaser for sure. You don’t really see it around too often unless you are either in the southern states or picking up a bucket of fried chicken. Either way, fried okra, and etouffee are a match made in heaven.
Just like a freshly baked loaf of bread, you really cannot go wrong with some sweet cornbread. The sweetness of the cornbread works really well with the rich nutty etouffee gravy. Plus, the crumbly bread will soak up a lot of that gravy you just can’t get enough of.
I like to add a can of cream corn to my cornbread to make it a little more filling and have a little more texture in the mix as well. However, a quick mix of the stuff in a jiffy box will also do the trick just fine and save you a dime or two.
4.Fresh Garden Salad
Etouffee is a very thick and rich dish that will be very filling in the end. So, to lighten up the mood at the table make a fresh garden salad with a light vinaigrette to accompany it. The fresh garden veggies will help to brighten up the meal and not make everything so heavy.
The acid from the vinaigrette will also help to cut through the rich gravy of the etouffee. You can choose any kind of veggies you want but I would suggest crisp lettuce to go with the salad. Something like romaine lettuce or endive will work nicely.
5.Tomato And Mozzarella Caprese Salad
Here is another great salad to go with. It is basically a salad that consists of lettuce, basil, heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. Usually, it comes with a balsamic dressing or a balsamic reduction drizzle. The light salad is very filling but still offers freshness to the meal. The acid from the dressing also helps to cut through the heavy meal as well.
This side dish should go without saying. It really would not be so much of a side dish but more of a vehicle for the etouffee to sit on top of. In all reality, etouffee does not include the rice. That is just the accompaniment which is actually the side dish in this case. Rice will work the best in this scenario for etouffee and plain white rice at that.
However, you can also serve dirty rice with the etouffee or even a rice and beans side dish as well. Either way, these two go together like peas and carrots. I highly recommend serving rice with your etouffee with or without a side dish.
7.Sweet Potato Fries
French fries are always great to serve with just about anything. But sweet potato fries are a game changer! They work especially well with Cajun-style cuisine and etouffee all around.
The crispy sweet potato fries bring a nice textural element to the table and the flavors play on each other well. They will not overpower each other but do a little dance in your mouth instead!
8.Grilled Creole Vegetables
If you still want to stay in the realm of all things healthy, then go with some grilled or roasted vegetables. You can add some Cajun seasonings to the vegetables before cooking them to give them a little extra punch as well. There are some vegetables in the etouffee, but not the kind you would put on the grill.
I would suggest going with some zucchini, yellow squash, or eggplant for starters. You can also throw in some onions or peppers as well if you wanted.
9.Braised Collard Greens With Bacon Lardons
Here is another great side dish to go with your etouffee. This dish will need quite some time to get the recipe down just right. However, it is very cheap to make and very easy to execute. It will just take most of the day to braise the greens to get them to break down all the fibers in the leafy green.
If you sauté up some bacon, garlic and yellow onions it will just add to the flavor of the greens in the long run. If you do this, do it first then add them to the pot for the greens to braise in all day long. Once you get this down right, it will change your whole outlook on collard greens forever!
Best Desserts To Serve With Etouffee
Blackberry Or Cherry Cobbler
When deciding on a dessert to serve with the etouffee, I would just stick to Cajun style cuisine. If that is the case then you can go in all directions. Some of the really great types of desserts are blackberry or cherry cobbler which is really easy to make. Or you can go with an old-fashioned sweet potato pie which is very similar to pumpkin pie in a sense.
Lemon bars are always great to end the meal on a light and fruit note. One of the best southern style desserts is chocolate bread pudding. It is a very delicious dessert can be somewhat heavy at times.
Top Wines To Serve With Etouffee
When choosing a wine for your etouffee you need to think about the protein that is in the recipe. This will ultimately determine the type of wine to choose. If you are going with a sweet shellfish like crayfish, shrimp, crab or lobster then stick to a nice light chardonnay. This will work nicely with the etouffee and not overpower to overall flavor of the dish.
If you are using something like andouille sausage or salmon in the etouffee, go with a light pinot noir. It will complement the dish well and the heavy protein too. Just try to think about what you would serve with the protein individually, and then you will have your wine selection.
What Kind Of Protein Should I Put In My Etouffee To Serve?
When it comes time to decide what type of protein to throw in the etouffee, it will all come down to your personal preference. I would suggest going with a shellfish over seafood or any other type of meat. You can add those types of meat, but etouffee really shines through with some quality shellfish.
For the type of shellfish, you can go with the traditional style and use crawfish or shrimp. These are going to be the best types of protein to use in the etouffee. They just work really well together. If you wanted to elevate the type of protein you could go with lobster or lump crab meat too though.
I mean, in all honesty, crawfish are just a lesser and cheaper type of lobster. You only eat the tail of the crayfish as well.
With etouffee, the side dish is really not all that important. Etouffee is going to be very filling and is a meal all in itself. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too! There are so many different options to choose from they we didn’t even mention on this list. Just about anything will work nicely if it is a southern or Cajun side dish. Try out some of the options we laid out for you and you will have a great meal ahead of you!
Kevin has spent 20 years as an Executive Chef, focused heavily on recipe construction and menu development. Today his focus is on writing, consulting to restaurants, and teaching culinary arts. In his spare time, Kevin loves to cook with his lovely wife and kids.