11-26: Fish Gumbo

I’ve often talked during this project about my mother and her predilection towards recipe experimentation. One of these instances was where she attempted to make gumbo–I’m not sure where she got the recipe from, but I remember the family failing to choke down poorly cooked okra and my father making a quick run to KFC while she surreptitiously got rid of the rest.

The mere mention of gumbo usually brings this unsavory memory back, and so I attempted 11-26: Fish Gumbo with a fair amount of trepidation.

Roux is something I’ve covered several times throughout this project, and it’s an essential flavor and texture component of gumbo. Letting a roux brown deepens its flavor, and there’s a fine line between too light and over cooked.

“Fish” is used pretty liberally here–you can use pretty much whatever kind of seafood that you want with this recipe. I’ve been holding onto a bag of seafood mix in my freezer for a while–I think we just found a use for it.

Ingredients. Aforementioned seafood mix in the back, some catfish nugget pieces I found on sale at the market in front. Couldn’t find my cayenne pepper at the moment (found it later), so I planned to use some habanero salt instead and omit regular salt later.

Catfish nuggets probably don’t need much flaking.

Separated out the krab, mussels, shrimp, and scallops from the seafood mix and kept those–no squid tentacles in my gumbo, thanks. Fried and dipped in tomato sauce is one thing, but this is another.

Browning the roux–how dark you go depends on what kind of flavor and texture you want.  For something delicate like fish, I’d keep it relatively light.

Here’s a view of a more solid roux as it absorbs the fat.

Tossing the veggies in the roux, coating them.

Adding seasonings after tomatoes & broth.

Adding the fish & seafood after bringing it to a boil.

Final bowl. I know you’re supposed to put it on rice, but I had cooked pasta and didn’t like feeling having rice now too. Flavor-wise it wasn’t terrible (there was no emergency KFC run), but it wasn’t exactly exciting. Perhaps with more fresh seafood it’d be more inspiring, but as-is, it was kind of a dud.

Grade: C+