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271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I will have to put Fishmonger's on my list if I ever head out out that way. The special thing about the Grits and Gumbo plate is that they pour the gumbo on top of a toasted "cake" of grits? Don't know how they do it, but man that's a great combo!
Everytime we have leftover grits we make grit cakes with them! It's basically really moist cornbread which is perfect for covering in gumbo, gravy, chicken and dumplings, or any other southern favorite. It's not healthy, but dang it's tasty.

Fishmongers does a lot of things well, but avoid the items considered high end seafood. Tuna and swordfish aren't good there. The blackened redfish, Dutch mussel pot, gumbo, boiled shrimp, and fried catfish are all outstanding.

271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Casian, I like that one :)

I agree with your snow crab comments.
And will expand on that a bit.

I find any over seasoned dish, like Gumbo and many
other regional dishes, and similar dishes from other countries
or nationalities, while very tasty themselves,
they often completely overpower the subtle tastes of seafood.

When I am visiting a coastal area that offers
super fresh, day boat, type of seafood,
I prefer to eat that seafood prepared in a lighter way,
that allows the quality and freshness to come through,
not overpower that freshness and subtle taste with
strong spices.
I consider this type of seafood like a great cut of steak,
which is prepared with minimal seasoning.
The cheap steaks get drenched in A1 or some sauce or ketchup.

Marcus Samuelsson seems to have a similar viewpoint.

The most recognizable recipe in the book is Samuelsson’s ode to Leah Chase and her gumbo.
But he takes a big, irreverent, if time-saving step and omits the flour—and,
by extension, the roux
—that is a staple of New Orleans gumbo, including Chase’s.
Samuelsson stands firm on his decision,
even as he acknowledges that purists might not consider his version a true gumbo.
“I look at food from a flavor perspective,” he argues.
“This gumbo has cleaner flavors without the flour,
you can taste the essence of the dish: the red pepper, the seafood, the spices.”

Samuelsson says Chase would have slapped his hand, too,
if she’d seen him making gumbo without flour.
“But she was also always about evolving.
If there’s a flavor combination that’s better, she would have been for it,” he maintains.
“She would have loved it when she tasted it.”
But, he adds, “She would have said: ‘Just don’t put hot sauce on it.’

View attachment 119798
I agree 100%. If I am getting primo quality fish I want to taste it. Light, fresh, and let the fish stand on its own. When I get a chance to have fresh cobia my favorite prep is some salt, pepper, citrus, and grill marks. Same for most others but cobia is a personal favorite. I'm also in complete agreement when it comes to premium beef. It needs no help. A little salt/pepper and cooked rare (at least for me).

I do also really enjoy over spiced flavor forward dishes. As much as I love fresh red snapper, I will blacken it. I do this with a lot of fish. Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic is possibly the best bottled spice mix on Earth. The day I come home with a cooler full of red snapper it's cerviche, sashimi, and citrus grilled snapper time. Shortly after that it's blackened snapper, snapper Veracruz, or grilled snapper pasta time. Same goes for beeliner and other similar fish.

Gumbo in general is a spicy, flavorful, and hearty dish. If you go the roux-less Creole direction it may be less hearty, but it's guaranteed to be flavorful. As I mentioned before I view gumbo the Acadian way. It's really a stew that allows you to use what you have on hand. The basic assumption is that if you are making gumbo you have flour, oil, the trinity, garlic, basic spices (in the south that is salt pepper and cayenne) and some sort of stock (water if times are hard) available to you. After that one has to assume you can catch or kill something. Of course if you have access to more then use it.

As someone who has eaten squirrel multiple ways I can say that gumbo is one of my favorites, however Bobbie always makes it with squirrels cut into 5 pieces and the bones in the quarters are a pain in the rear. Everyone who knows what they are doing digs for the saddles. That's the prime cut of the squirrel. Tasso adds a lot of flavor but smoked ham hocks are easier to get and make a suitable replacement.

I'll get to your other post soon because your pics make me hungry and paella is possibly one of my favorite dishes.

271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Looked at Chuck Taggart recipe,
he is a 1 to 1 man as well.

squirrel/tasso/gator gumbo sounds interesting.
The Bayou "Bush Meat" Gumbo.
Most exotic i've had, was Iguana,
and Iguana/Gator.

It looks like Samuelsson is making something very similar
to what I eat in NYC with just a change in dried spices.

While we don't have good gumbo locally,
we do have some world class MARISCADA available.
That dish is prepared in Spanish/Portuguese restaurants.
We have some great ones in NYC, but the best of the best
are across the river in New Jersey, Newark "Iron Bound" section
and Bayonne. Iron Bound has turned into Spain/Portugal/Brazil when
it comes to restaurants.

Mariscada is similar to Samuelsson gumbo.

View attachment 119799

Mariscada in Green Sauce (parsley based)

View attachment 119802

Marascada Salvadorian Style with Aji pepper

View attachment 119801

And when its time for Jambalaya,
we just order PAELLA

View attachment 119806

View attachment 119807
So far the only reptiles I've eaten are gator, rattlesnake, and snapping turtle. I've never had iguana but I'm definitely up for it. I assume these days iguana is Florida's version on nutria. They need a bunch of them killed but getting people to eat them in large quantities hasn't taken off yet. Not sure why, if it tastes anything like the other reptiles I've eaten. Nutria is pretty good too. For those who haven't had any of the above I assure you the old adage "it tastes like chicken" isn't true.

I am completely unfamiliar with Mariscada but if it makes someone willing to cross over from NYC to Newark then I'm guessing it's incredible. Based on what I read it's basically shellfish stew and the variations are based on the various places it's prepared. It sounds right up my alley!

As I mentioned before paella is one of my all time favorites dishes. The best I've found here in Frisco is at a local restaurant that bills themselves as rustic Italian, but they pull off a Spanish specialty pretty well. The best I've ever had was in Georgetown but dang if I can remember the name of the joint. Lots of wine and some really nice after dinner drinks. Still recall how good it was though!

Jambalaya is great too, but it's a way to use a little protein, supplement with a lot of rice, and make a tasty meal cheap. It's a dish that I love, but if I'm going out it's not my go to.

Oh, on a side note I'm surprised to hear that Newark has some new ethnic influence. Not sure I will ever find my way there again but I will keep that in mind if I'm ever offered a good deal to change my flight from LaGuaurdia to Newark.
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