Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gumbo for the Super Bowl?

Mark Bittman has a Minimalist column this week for a pretty solid looking gumbo with scallops... which reminds me! It's been Maine shrimp season for several weeks now, and I have yet to screw up a a gumbo... something I'll have to rectify ASAP, since it's been almost a year since my last attempt screw-up. Even though I haven't ever made a gumbo I think is spectacular (I'm sort of obsessively critical about it), I still think gumbo is a solid idea for a Super Bowl party... especially for those of us in the Northeast, as it's both scallop and shrimp season up in Maine, so you should have plenty of fresh options at your fishmonger... even if they aren't exactly the traditional Cajun or Creole ones. Being from Maryland, winter seafood seasons are still pretty weird to me... but what's essentially a mildly spiced seafood stew served over rice seems a perfect winter dish... if I ever find my ideal "New England Gumbo" recipe, that is. No luck yet, but no reason to stop trying.

As for my eternal bane, the dark Louisiana roux? Here's a post from Chow that has the color progression mapped out with some tips that might help you out if you're following Bittman's recipe. I'm obviously no expert, but from my limited experience and faulty memory, I'd say that 15-20 minutes on medium low heat will probably get you firmly into the "peanut butter" stage... and thus isn't likely to be too problematic... it's the dark ones that are always on the edge of burning.

Maine shrimp photo by flickr user looseends used under a Creative Commons license