Creole Redfish Gumbo
Jordan Ruiz cooks a version of the seafood gumbo his mother and grandmother made when he was growing up in New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood. It contains fin fish, which is rarely seen in restaurants in New Orleans, where seafood gumbos tend to contain shrimp and crab. Gumbo filé, made of dried and ground sassafras leaves, is used both as a thickening agent and for its flavor. Mr. Ruiz’s gumbo can be found at the Munch Factory, the New Orleans restaurant he owns with his wife, Alexis.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½cups vegetable or canola oil
- 1 ¾cups all-purpose flour
- 1large yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1cup chopped celery
- ⅓cup chopped garlic
- 3quarts shrimp stock or seafood stock
- 1pound small blue crabs, or substitute 1/2 pound fresh lump crab meat
- ¼cup gumbo filé powder
- 6dried bay leaves
- 2tablespoons kosher salt
- 1tablespoon fresh or dried thyme
- 1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1tablespoon ground cayenne, or to taste
- 2pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
- 1 ½pounds redfish, black drum or other medium-firm, white-flesh fish fillets (such as sea bass or haddock), skin removed, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2tablespoons Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s)
- 2cups freshly shucked oysters with their juices, or substitute 1 (16-ounce) container shucked oysters
- 1teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
- Cooked white rice, for serving
- ½cup chopped scallions, for serving
Step 1Prepare the roux: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high until it’s just shy of smoking. Slowly shake the flour into the oil, whisking until smooth. Reduce the heat to medium and continue whisking until the roux is a deep dark brown, 20 to 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Step 2Using a wooden spoon, stir in the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Step 3Stir in the stock. Bring to a boil and add the crabs (if using whole blue crabs), gumbo filé, bay leaves, salt, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavors have melded, skimming off any foam or skin on the surface, about 1 hour.
Step 4Toss the shrimp and fish with the Creole seasoning and stir into gumbo, along with the oysters and crab meat (if using). Simmer until the shrimp and fish are cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the hot sauce. Taste and season with more salt and hot sauce if necessary. Divide among soup bowls and top with rice and scallions.