Dauphin Island

Recipe: Mobile Bay Gumbo

I was born on the shores of Mobile Bay and I have spent more than 30 years living, hunting, fishing, cooking and most importantly eating beside its lapping waves.  This beautiful and historic body of water provides a bounty of food especially seafood and wild game.  This particular gumbo uses proteins found in or around Mobile Bay – duck, shrimp, oysters and flounder.  Dig it!

Mobile Bay Gumbo
Recipe Type: Soup, Main
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 40 mins
Serves: 4-8
Ingredients
  • 4 duck breasts
  • Olive oil (if needed)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 bunch celery, diced
  • 3 bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh okra, sliced
  • 1 gallon seafood stock (give or take)
  • 1 TBL oregano
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 TBL thyme
  • Salt, pepper and/or Cajun seasoning to taste
  • 2 pounds flounder filets, 1″ diced
  • 2 pounds peeled shrimp
  • 2 pints oysters (with liquid)
  • Worcestershire Sauce to taste
  • Louisiana hot sauce to taste
Instructions
  1. Lightly season the duck breasts and put skin-side down in a heated gumbo pot and cook until fat is rendered and skin is crispy as all get out, roughly 7 minutes. Remove the duck meat but leave that glorious fat.
  2. Add olive oil (if needed) so that you have 1/2 cup of fat in the pot and then add the flour, season to taste and cook the roux until the color of chocolate (about 15 to 20 minutes) stirring constantly.
  3. Add the onions, celery and peppers and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, okra and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  5. Add the herbs and season to taste.
  6. Dice the duck and add to the gumbo. Cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Add the fish and cook for five minutes.
  8. Add the oysters and cook for three minutes.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.
  10. Season to taste with Worcestershire Sauce and Louisiana hot sauce.
  11. Serve over rice.

Photo courtesy of Lynne Brown

Notes

If you can’t find flounder then sheepshead or even catfish will do.

Upcoming Appearance at the Dauphin Island Gumbo Festival

Stu w/Alton Brown

On Friday April 13th I will being doing a live cooking demo as part of the Dauphin Island Gumbo Festival.  I was a judge for the Gumbo Cook-off at this event last year and got to spend the day paling around with Alton Brown.  This year the event has spread to three days so here’s a schedule of events including when and where you can catch me demo’ing my Mobile Bay Gumbo:

Now three days of Gumbo fun including the 3rd Annual Gumbo cook-off, live music, cooking demonstrations and a “tasting tour” of local restaurants.

Friday
4:30 pm- Mack n DD’s Gift Emporium Gumbo cooking demonstration with Chef Stuart Reb Donald and live music with Jerry Smith. FREE!!!

5:30 pm- The Sandbox/ Blu revival surf shop Gumbo cooking demonstration with Ward Williams and live music with Bruce Williams. FREE!!

6:30 pm- ACP REAL ESTATE Gumbo cooking demonstration with Gene Fox and live music with Bruce Jones. FREE!!

5-8 pm Free Gumbo samples at the Dauphin Island Chevron

5-8 pm Free Seafood samples at The Bienville Bar & Grill

Saturday
Join us for the 3rd Annual Dauphin Island Gumbo cook off! More than a dozen teams will compete for prizes and bragging rights. The Chamber will also host a hospitality tent featuring more than 100 gallons of gumbo and hot dogs for the kids.

Children under 12 get in free and we are proud to sponsor a children’s activity area featuring a bounce house and an appearance by our favorite clown “The Dancing Fool”!

The Music will start at 11am with Fat Man Squeeze. Stay and dance to the Swamp rhythms of THE SAUCE BOSS. Bill “The Sauce Boss” Wharton who is famous cooking gumbo live on stage while playing great music. At the end of the show he feeds the gumbo to the crowd!

11 am-3 pm Free Crab Dip Sample at The Lighthouse Bakery

5-8 pm Free Seafood Sample at the Beinville Bar

Sunday
12-3 pm Free Baja Shrimp sample at The Cruisin’ Taco Truck

2-4 pm Free Shrimp Kabob sample at the Isle Dauphine

Join us for a pool party at the Isle Dauphine Country Club from 12-7pm! $6 adults/ $4 kids

Advance tickets are only $10 for the Gumbo cook off/ $15 day of the event. Tickets are available at all Bay Bank Locations, The OK Bicycle shop (661 Dauphin Street), The Dauphin Island Welcome Center, and ACP Real Estate on the Island.

Review: The Cruzin Taco

Call ‘em taco trucks, lunch wagons, meals on wheels or what have you there is no denying that food trucks are an exciting new player on the American dining scene. Gone are the days of stale, pre-made sandwiches and rusty old catering vans filled with questionable vittles.

Today food trucks are hip, clean and diverse. Each day thousands of them roll through the streets of New York, Chicago and especially Los Angeles where the trend really took off with the wildly popular Kogi trucks. Kogi specializes in Korean BBQ tacos. How could that not miss, right?

Well, the food truck craze has finally made it to Mobile. There are roughly a half dozen mobile restaurants operating in the Port City and one of the best is the Cruzin Taco truck owned by the husband and wife team of Michael and Lacey Curtis. Michael hails from Southern California where modern food trucks got their start and brings with him the taste of true tacos. Not those crunchy shells stuffed with cheap hamburger and yellow cheese or their even less Mexican cousins the “soft taco” which is wrapped in a flour (do they even grow wheat in Mexico?) tortilla.

No, the Curtis’ are slinging the real deal. Choose from carnitas (shreddedd pork), grilled chicken or my favorite carne asada (steak) all tucked inside a grilled white corn tortilla with fresh cilantro, chopped onions and white cheese.

You gotta love the price, $2.50 each or three for $7. The carnita is slow roasted, slightly sweet with just the right amount of cinnamon. The grilled chicken is tender and flavorful, some of the best grilled chicken I’ve ever had. The carne asada is heaven in a tortilla. Also be on the lookout for the Baja Fish Tacos with fresh white fish topped with cheese, shredded cabbage and salsa verde. Be sure to grab some chips to dig through their salsa and guacamole. You’ll thank me for it.

The Cruzin Taco truck’s hours and location vary from day to day so the best way to keep up with them is via their Facebook Page. Also take a gander at their Home Page for more info. They’ll be at the first Mardi Gras parade of the season this Saturday, Jan. 21st on Dauphin Island. They plan to open around 10 AM.

Recipe: Shrimp Wings

2nd Annual Wings and Waves Cook-offOn October 1st Dauphin Island, Alabama will be hosting its 2nd Annual Wings & Waves Cook-off.  The Hot Wing throwdown was born from the BP Oil Spill disaster that closed the Gulf off for nearly a year.  That meant no seafood.  This year teams will compete in four categories- Hot, Mild, Free-Style and Shrimp Wings!

What is a Shrimp Wing? They’re not quite sure yet.  But when the Shrimp Wing winner is announced they will! The winner of the Shrimp Wing category will have just invented the official dish of the Dauphin Island Chamber of Commerce– The Dauphin Island Shrimp Wing!

You can get your tickets HERE.  They are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Now I offer my interpretation of Shrimp Wings.

Shrimp Wings
Recipe Type: Appetiser
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 3-4
The cinnamon sticks in this recipe are not ingredients so much as surrogate bones.
Ingredients
  • 1 dozen large (16/20) Gulf shrimp, peeled
  • 1 cup spiced rum (Captain Morgan or Adm. Nelson)
  • Jamaican Jerk seasoning to taste
  • 1 dozen cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a zip top bag combine the shrimp and rum. Seal and refrigerate for about an hour.
  2. Make Cilantro/Lime Cream by combing the sour cream, juice and zest of the lime and cilantro then refrigerate.
  3. Fire up the grill. While it is heating up drain the shrimp and season with the Jerk seasoning. Using a cinnamon stick as a skewer impale each shrimp with its own stick.
  4. Place on the grill for about two minutes on each side.
  5. Serve with Cilantro/Lime Cream for dipping.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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