Visit Wakulla Florida
To start with you don’t make a gumbo you build it!
This starts with the freshest ingredients possible, many purchased at your local Wakulla County seafood market(s). Let’s get started with the stock (in my opinion the single most important factor in this gumbo).
Clean gills out of fish heads and wash backbones thoroughly. Place in a clean stockpot with one gallon of cold water. Add shrimp heads and hulls to the pot and bring to a simmer. Gently simmer one hour and strain, add stock back. This stock can be enhanced greatly with shrimp flavor by blending sundried shrimp with chicken stock until smooth and add (I recommend).
Next, add the tomato sauce, bay leaves, garlic, and Kitchen Bouquet. Bring to a simmer or slow bubble for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile dice the sausage into rounds, then quarter rounds, and brown slightly in an iron skillet and add to seasoned stock.
Place the peanut oil in the skillet on medium low heat. When hot, sprinkle flour evenly over the oil and whisp or stir continuously (I like a wooden spoon with a flat tip for scraping). Don’t cook roux too fast! It should take 15-25 minutes to turn a dark peanut butter color, and smell kind of nutty. Immediately add the celery and onions to cool down the roux before it burns. Stir until veggies wilt, but let some stick to the bottom and caramelize (secret flavor!). Pull the skillet off heat.
Place a steamer basket on high heat in a pot with small amount of water, drizzle okra with olive oil, stir, and steam on high heat for 10 minutes. This cuts the okra slime and makes a great thickener. Place the okra in the seasoned stock and bring to a medium boil. Add 1/3 of roux, stir in for 5 minutes, repeat until all ingredients except seafood are in. Start with one Tablespoon of salt, ½ teaspoon each of black and red pepper to taste. Seafood will absorb some salt too. Cover tightly and gently simmer 45 minutes.
Cook rice according to directions.
15 minutes before you’re ready to eat, drop in 1 inch pieces of fish.
5 minutes before you are ready to eat, stir in shrimp.
2 minutes before you are ready to eat, add crab meat and Parsley, cut fire off.
Serve this gumbo over rice, and pour a big glass of sweet tea.
This recipe is a combination of experience and reading good cookbooks from Cajun Country. Enjoy!
David Moody, Wakulla County TDC and ranger at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
People travel from miles around just to buy Wakulla County's famously fresh seafood, and with retail markets located from one end of Wakulla County's coastline to the other, you'll find options aplenty for everything from fresh oysters, shrimp and crab to locally caught mullet, flounder, grouper, red snapper and cobia -- just to name a few!
Our Local Seafood Markets
Lighthouse Seafood Market
Lynn Brother's Seafood
Nichols & Son's Seafood Market
Mineral Springs By the Sea
My Way Seafood
Tropical Trader Shrimp Company
Please visit their seafood markets for the freshest seafood around and to support their hard work!
Sponsored by the Wakulla County Tourist Development Council and funded from The Gulf Seafood and Tourism Promotional Fund Grant provided by BP.
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