This dish is a truly delightful experience that is both gourmet and gourmand; at least way the Cafe’ Be At cooks it. This particular dish is a combination of Seafood Creole and Gumbo — the best of both. Gumbo comes from magumbo, the African word for okra.
Get all this stuff as fresh as you can. Hit a roadside farmers’ market (known in the bayou as the back of the farmers truck). These folks have usually got the freshest, most home-grown stuff, their making an honest, hard-earned living and you get to screw the IRS. Cain’t axe for a better deal than that.
2 Large Onions
3 Large Green Pepper
1 lb. of Mushrooms
3 Celery stalks
2 lb. of Okra
2 lb. of Shrimp
2 quarts of Fish stock
Large bottles of red wine (Burgundy)
(2 Tomatoes — 1 lb. 12 oz. cans of crushed.)
First off: open the bottle of wine and pour yourself a glass. You are about to start cutting veggies for a while. This is much easier if you have a glass of red wine at your side. Next, cut up the garlic and start some olive oil on low heat in a real big heavy-bottom pot. (I recommend the Bertha Butt line of cooking supplies.) While the garlic is frying, start cutting the all the veggies into whatever shapes you wish. Hope (x1.25) used to be great at wittlin’ Mr. Spock ears out of green peppers and onions that looked like just like Bill Shatner. And she used to shave shanks off a carrot like it was warning to me not to be messin’ around on her.
When you’ve got the garlic good and brown drop in the onions, green peppers, and celery. Wilt these — stirring frequently. Toast yourself for the amount of work you just done with red wine and add some cayenne.
When the veggies are about wilted, add the fish stock, then add the tomatoes, add some red wine to pot and cook, add more cayenne, and stir while bringing the whole thing to a simmer. In the good ol’ simmertime — cover and lower the heat. Stir this sometimes.
Behead and shuck the shrimp. This is a disgusting job — have another glass of wine handy. (There’s an up side to this: nobody gonna touch your wineglass the rest of the damn night.) Put the shrimp on ice. Icing shrimp kills the outer bacteria. Do it… I don’t care how fresh the shrimp are, icing them changes nothing about their cooking, texture, or flavour, and it is the safe way to prepare shrimp.
Make double-roux… This roux should be dark-dark mahogany. Turn the roux up and drop in shrimp. Fry the shrimp in the roux at as high a heat as you can handle. Stir it constantly and drink plenty of red wine — to keep up your strength — roux stirrin’ is hard work.
If you’re ready to eat in twenty minutes start the rice and pour yourself a glass of wine.
When the shrimp are about done (2-7 minutes depending on heat) turn up the roux number 2 and add the okra. Okra needs to cook quick and gentle (no need to swap slimy okra experiences). The okra is the last thing to go in the Gumbo and is only cooked for a few minutes, just like the shrimp.
After you’re done gettin’ the okra started, scrape them shrimp into the Gumbo pot. Throw in some more cayenne and pour a glass of wine.
The shrimp makes a proud compliment to the Gumbo.
The shrimp are gonna add a note of character to the mix.