“There are a lot of bad gumbos out there because people are afraid to take the roux where it needs to go,” says Slade Rushing about the classic base of flour and fat. Where it needs to go is from a pale beige to a mahogany brown. Rushing, the chef at New Orleans’s revamped Brennan’s, says the only way to achieve roux perfection is to whisk the flour and oil constantly, over moderately low heat, for 40 minutes, until the mixture turns dark and toasty. Then, he says, prepare the gumbo with whatever you like—sausage, seafood and game are all great. His seafood version is filled with lump crabmeat, oysters and shrimp, all in a spectacular crab stock.
Here, Slade Rushing's guide to the perfect Seafood Gumbo:
1. Make the Crab Stock
In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients except the crabs and bring to a boil. Add the crabs and simmer briskly over moderate heat for 1 hour, skimming as necessary. Strain the stock into a pot. You should have about 12 cups; add water if necessary, and reserve any extra stock for another use. Discard the crabs.