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Spicy seafood gumbo recipe a blend of many flavors

Contributed by Joyce Taylor, from Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas, NC Sea Grant

Seafood is a southern tradition. Early on, southerners established a tradition of fish and shellfish cookery. A diversity of waters—bayous, bays, streams, sounds and the Atlantic Ocean—produced a diversity of foods such as finfish, oysters, blue crabs, shrimp, clams and scallops. Over time, a diversity of cuisines followed.

Spicy Seafood Gumbo

  • ¾ pound small shrimp, peeled
  • 1 pint standard oysters, undrained
  • ½ pound backfin crabmeat (remove any shell or cartilage)
  • ½ pound firm, skinless fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, pressed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen cut okra
  • white rice, cooked, optional for serving

Heat oil in heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and cook until the mixture – known as “roux” – is copper-colored, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add onion, celery and garlic and cook until tender. Add broth, tomatoes, Worcestershire, Tabasco, bay leaf, 2 tablespoons parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, pepper and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add okra. Simmer 25 minutes. Add fish, shrimp and oysters. Simmer 5 minutes. Add crabmeat and continue simmering until fish, shrimp and oysters are done, about 5 more minutes.

Serve over hot rice, if desired. Garnish with remaining parsley. 

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