February 5, 2016

Best Seafood Gumbo in New Orleans? We Think So.

We’re slowly but surely recovering from Carnival season, and one dish that’s making the transition a little easier is the Langlois seafood gumbo. For the 40 days of Lent, we swap our regular Not Your Mama’s Gumbo (the one with andouille, topped with fried chicken) served on Friday with our signature seafood gumbo. We’re just a little biased, but we like to think it’s one of the best seafood gumbos in New Orleans: rich but light, brimming with gumbo crab, Louisiana shrimp, drum, and okra, topped with a piece of fried drum or catfish, and served over crab fat fried rice.

Our seafood stock is the cornerstone of this gumbo. The recipe is inspired by our French fish fumet — a quick, light stock seasoned with leeks, celery and fennel. Instead of a shrimp or crab stock, which can make a gumbo taste swampy or compete by adding too much sweetness, ours’ is made with snapper and we 86’ed the fennel (it’s also too sweet for gumbo).

We use a roux that’s at the “milk chocolate” stage to make the gumbo slightly darker to off-set the lightness of the seafood stock. We demonstrate how to make roux during dinner, too (or see our tutorial linked below if you’re interested in learning how to make a dry roux or seeing the different stages of color in making a roux).

A dry roux gumbo? Gluten-free and low-fat, too? Yes, we did.

A quick note about our “gumbo crabs” (pictured). Some of our diners have been confused about these whole crabs in the gumbo. These aren’t big, meaty blue crabs that you crack and pick the meat from. Gumbo crabs are a smaller Gulf coast variety (about the size of your palm). They aren’t very meaty, but they’re excellent for flavoring a gumbo. The crabs also soak up liquid, so we want diners to kind’ve suck and chew on the legs and claws, like locals do, to get that flavor.

The crab fat is a Filipino product we buy, and the crab fat fried rice is our tribute to the Filipino fishermen who showed Louisianans how to dry shrimp in the sun (which is how we can still make a great shrimp stock when shrimp are out of season).

We serve the gumbo with our seasonal Langlois salad (with treats picked from the Crossroads Farm, as always), and we finish the meal with one of our guest-favorite desserts: crepes.

We’re serving the Langlois seafood gumbo now through March 27 for Not Your Mama’s Gumbo Fridays. Call or e-mail us today to make your reservation!

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New Orleans by Mouth, a weekly look at dining and restaurants around New Orleans from food news to chef interviews with Langlois chef/owner Amy Sins. Launched in December 2014, New Orleans by Mouth is a spin-off of WRBHs previous food series, The Chef Show.

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