Monday, March 24, 2014

Gloria's Healthy Catfish Gumbo

Catfish gumbo
My gumbo recipe is different from most in two notable ways: First, it does not use a roux, which makes it lighter and healthier -- much lower in fat and in carbohydrates -- but without sacrificing on flavor because of the zesty spices and herbs. Second, unlike most Cajun or creole gumbos, my catfish gumbo recipe omits celery, but only because Greg hates celery. If and when I make gumbo just for myself, I plan on including some chopped celery with the other traditional gumbo vegetables.

One more note specifically for okra-haters: The okra in this recipe does not get slimy. This gumbo is 100% slime-free. If you absolutely, positively refuse to eat anything with okra in it, you could replace the okra in my gumbo with frozen green beans, but then it wouldn't be a gumbo but would be more of a creole or Cajun catfish stew. Either way, it'll be bursting with Louisiana flavor. Traditionally served over hot cooked white rice, you can also serve the gumbo "as is" in bowls, with some bread on the side if desired.

Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning
2 or 3 Tbs olive oil*
1 large bay leaf (or 2 small)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
Opt: 1 small hot pepper, seeded & minced
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups frozen sliced okra
1 to 1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning such as Slap Ya Mama or Emeril's Original Essence
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3 or 4 meaty catfish fillets** (approx. 12-16 oz total)

Emeril's Original Essence
*Sometimes I substitute 1 Tbs bacon fat for 1 of the Tbs of oil.

**Fresh or frozen will work. If fresh or thawed, cooking time will be much shorter than if using still-frozen fillets.

Heat the oil and bay leaf in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic & hot pepper if using, and saute until tender. Stir in the tomatoes, okra, seasoning & herbs, cover and cook until okra is thawed and just tender, about 10 minutes, stirring once. Add catfish fish, gently stir the sauce & vegetables over the fish, cover the pot and cook until fish flakes with a fork (about 20 to 25 minutes if using frozen fillets; much less time if fresh or thawed fillets), stirring once or twice. Serve in bowls over cooked rice or "as is." If you want a spicier gumbo, add a few splashes of your favorite Louisiana hot sauce. Makes 4 servings.

Zestfully yours,

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