Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo with Bumblebee Rice

Ok, this is not REALLY a gumbo, but I am not sure how else to describe it.....

This is a lovely and aromatic dish which is a little showy and dramatic due to the vibrant colours....and no there are no bumblebees harmed in the making of this dish.
As I am allergic to chilli I have made up for the lack of heat by using smoked paprika and plenty of anchovies with the added ka-pow  of star anise.  I fully appreciate that if you have a taste for chilli there is no substitute, and this is one of those dishes where I do envy you....  If you want to add some slices of Chorizo or plenty of flaked heat go for it.

Monkfish is an excellent fish for this dish as it enjoys a longer, more heavy duty cooking time and you need a fish which responds well to vigorous high heat cooking.  Cooking at least a few of the prawns in their shells is also important as a lot of the flavour comes from the shells themselves. 
Don't be put off by the long ingredients list - this is so easy to make, and once you have the base stock cooking all the other seafood can be slung in five minutes before serving over a bed of black rice, with a little saffron rice stirred through - et voile bumblebee rice!

Seafood Gumbo1 cup black rice  - cooked in vegetable stock until just cooked through, then covered with plastic wrap and left to rest.
1 cup jasmine or basmati rice - add a generous pinch of saffron to the cooking water for lovely fragrant golden rice. 

200 grams raw prawns
200 grams monkfish fillets, cut into generous chunks
300 grams mussels
300 grams scallops, clams or cockels or other shellfish of choice
100 grams calamari rings
2 cups dry white wine
½  cup vodka
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
1 gram saffron
Anchovies - as many as you want
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½  teaspoon cumin
3 star anise, whole or crumbled
½  teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon preserved lemon, finely diced
Herbs - parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thyme

In a heavy bottomed, generous pan heat a little olive oil and add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, sprig onions, cumin, star anise, pepper, fennel seeds and paprika.   Cook until the spices smell toasty - if you are of the chilli persuasion, add your chillies now.
Once the spices are toasted add the butter and anchovies and melt the into the spice mix.  Turn the heat up high and add the prawns.  Cook until the shells change colour then reduce the heat and add the wine and saffron. Add the monkfish and the tomato and fennel, allow it to cook for about 10-15 minutes with the lid on.

Cook well, taste the liquid and adjust at this stage, before adding the delicate shellfish. Check for seasoning and add the preserved lemon.
Add the calamari and shellfish on top.  Cover with a lid and cook until the mussels open - 5-7 minutes should be ample.  Give the pan a shake, combine the flavours evenly through the mixture.

At the last moment, stir through plenty of herbs, some spring onion and the vodka. 
Serve on a bed of the bumblebee rice, with plenty of fresh herbs.

 Seafood Gumbo