Best Ever Seafood Gumbo Recipe

I’ve had lots of seafood gumbo in my day, and I’ve made more than a few. But nothing has blown me away like the version I ate at Peche, a New Orleans seafood restaurant run by Chef Don Link.

Where most seafood gumbos revolve around a peanut butter-colored roux, include tomatoes, are lighter and feature okra, Link’s gumbo had its shrimp and crabs swimming in a classic “dark chocolate” Cajun roux, no tomato at all, and was thickened with file powder. The effect is heartier, darker, like a squall roaring over Lake Pontchartrain, but everything in the bowl points to the seafood. It was less like eating a soup than it was like eating seafood with a gumbo sauce. This gumbo was a revelation. It was so much better than any others I’d ever had. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I needed the recipe. Fortunately, I found it in Link’s excellent book Real Cajun. As I suspected, this seafood gumbo hinges on great broth and a serious roux. And, of course, great seafood. Chef Link uses crab, shrimp and oysters. I’d just returned from down South, laden with Gulf shrimp and fish. I’d smoked some tripletail throats (belly+collar), and, when flaked out, tasted almost exactly like crabmeat. They’d go into the gumbo in place of the crab.

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