Several months ago I decided it was a great idea to try and make a shrimp salad without a recipe to guide me whatsoever. I spent good money on heirloom tomatoes, basil, and nice head-on shrimp. I ended up throwing the salad in the trash because it tasted similar to the smell of a toddler's nursery, but bought an extra onion so as that I could make shrimp stock out of the hollowed shells of my unfortunate crustacean friends. While their bodies might have gone boldly into that bad salad, their exoskeletons and delicious brains would boil with honor.
So, while the shrimp stock sat sadly in my freezer during the long Summer months, I began thinking about the possible vehicles of representation the stock could ingratiate...
GUMBO. FUCK YEAH, GUMBO.
Being the false food network foodie that I am, I used a combination of Emeril's recipe and Alton Brown's recipe.
My primary reasoning behind Alton's was the fact that he put his roux in the oven, whereas Emeril suggested you stand like a slave-laborer over the stove for an hour, constantly stirring until your roux reaches the color of a brick. Oh yeah, you get and black flecks in your roux? Throw it out, start over, you've burned it - you unfortunate bastard.
I learned quickly what you all should learn before trying to make a medium brown to brick roux... "They don't call it creole napalm for nuthin'." I did a little post-oven whisking over the stove and realized that the tiniest splash of roux onto your neck could make you feel hotter than a whore in church, so be careful.
The recipe for my gumbo went pretty much as follows:
1 quart shrimp stock
The Trinity (celery, onion, bell pepper)
1 peeled and diced tomato
1.5lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2lbs andoille sausage
2tbs shrimp and crab boil
3 cloves garlic
2tbs file powder (thickening agent)
few dashes of chalula
1 bay leaf
thyme to taste
parsley to taste
medium to dark roux
I served it with a little sliced green onion and long-grain white rice, and I have to say - I am once again pleased with the fact that I'm a pretty damn good cook. I would suggest making quite a bit of roux in case you need some extra - my gumbo didn't thicken up like I wanted it to.
I served it with a saute of swiss chard, garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine vinegar, and the drippings from the andouille sausage... because I'm a genius. (P.S. This simple saute will work with pretty much any dark greens)
Turns out, gumbo is quite a bit easier than I thought it would be - when you protect your face from splashing around agent brown. XO