Over the years, this is the gumbo recipe that I’ve cooked the most and that has remained a featured specialty at my restaurants. As far as the seafood goes, I use shrimp and crab, but if it’s cool ...
- 2 lb. poached, wild-caught Gulf shrimp (recipe follows)
- ⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- ¾ cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
- 1 tsp. finely chopped seeded jalapeño
- 2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus ¼ cup for serving, if desired
- Juice of 5 limes (about 1 cup)
- Juice of 2 lemons (about ½ cup)
- Juice of 1 orange (about ½ cup)
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. white pepper
- ½ tsp. sugar
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced (optional)
- 2 limes, quartered (optional)
- 2¼ large, wild-caught headless Gulf shrimp in the shell
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup tequila or rum
- 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
- ½ white onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp. sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
1. Chop the shrimp into thirds or bite-size pieces, or leave them whole if you prefer, and place in a large bowl.
2. Add the red onion, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, salt, white pepper, and sugar and stir well.
3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. While the mixture marinates, occasionally turn the container to evenly coat the shrimp in the liquid.
4. Transfer the shrimp and liquid to a glass bowl to serve or divide among eight martini glasses. If desired, garnish with avocado, cilantro, and lime.
I use this method to cook shrimp that have been peeled. It takes only a few minutes, so be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Poaching lets them absorb the flavors from the poaching liquid, which is called court bouillon in fancy French cooking and typically uses wine. Staying in step with my beloved Gulf Coastal Caribbean and Mexican influences, I use tequila or rum! Makes 2 pounds shrimp.
1. Peel and devein the shrimp. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
2. Place the water in a large heavy skillet or saucepan. Add the tequila, lemon, onion, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and cilantro. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering. Add the shrimp, cover, and cook for three minutes only! Pour the shrimp into a strainer and immediately cover with ice. When the shrimp are cool, remove and discard the lemon rounds, garlic, and cilantro. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
Photo by Angie Mosier. From Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life by Lucy Buffett (Grand Central Life & Style, 2017).
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