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Menu 23 November 2008

24 November 2008

Seafood Etouffee
sustainable mussels, rock shrimp, crabmeat; pumpkin “cream” sauce

Brazilian Cheese Breads

Seafood Etouffee
On a particularly cold and rainy day in Brazil, we ate a dish of “shrimp and cheese in a pumpkin.” I’ve attempted it before.  The fish man at the market yesterday had mussels (his are always gorgeous, huge and sweet, and all alive) and some tiny shrimp (rock shrimp? I’m not sure if that’s what they are). He also had some really lovely crabmeat which we splurged on. I wanted something spicy and comforting, and I remembered etouffee. None of my cookbooks really covered it, and I couldn’t find a recipe I really liked on the web, so I sort of made it up as I went along. In the end, it came out too thin to put in the squash “bowls,” but it would have been exactly the right thickness to go over some hot fluffy rice. Please source your seafood sustainably!

Makes 4-6 servings (more with rice).

  • 1 large winter squash (I used kombucha)
  • 1kg raw mussels, cleaned
  • 250g raw shrimp or crawfish, if available, shelled
  • 100g fresh crabmeat, picked over (or more, if you can afford it!)
  • 2 T oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 1 C stock, fish or chicken
  • 1/4 cream (optional)

Heat the oven to 400°F. If you want to try the bowls option, cut the squash in half along the “equator”. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Rub the cut sides with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in the oven. Check for softness starting after about 20mins. You want the squash to be soft enough to scoop, but not so soft that the “bowl” collabses.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil together in a heavy cast iron pot over medium heat until the butter melts. Whisk in the flour and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the flour takes on a golden hue. This will take about 10 minutes. When the flour looks ready, add in the chopped leeks, onions, pepper and celery all at once. Stir well to coat in the flour and add the paprika and thyme. Let the vegetables sweat a while, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are soft, add the wine. Stir continuously, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan, until the wine evaporated. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the mussels and shrimp. Stir well and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes or until all the mussels have open and the sauce has thickened slightly.

(This is a good time to put your rice on)

If you are planning to use the squash as bowls, scoop out as much of the squash as possible without breaking the bowl and add to the fish mixture. If you are going to use a more traditional bowl, just get as much squash as possible into the soup. Toss in the crabmeat and heat though.

If you like, you can (carefully, it’s hot!) shell the mussels before serving.

Line bowls (squash or otherwise) with rice and top with a generous serving of the etouffee.

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