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Tomato Gumbo with Sea Bass

Source: Casual Cuisines of the World - Country Inn
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Active Time:  25 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour 25 Minutes
  Serves 4
This slightly refined version of the American southern specialty features sea bass, a species that is present in various forms worldwide. Gumbo is a mainstay of Creole cooking, distinguished by the use of a browned roux and filé powder, the ground leaves of the sassafras plant.
1 whole sea bass, about 3 lb, cleaned, filleted and skinned with skeleton and head reserved
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons diced spicy sausage
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 celery stalk, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups diced plum (Roma) tomatoes
2 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 lemon, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, plus 4 sprigs
1/4 teaspoon filé powder
Tomato Gumbo with Sea Bass Recipe at
Cover and refrigerate the bass fillets. Wash the reserved skeleton and head in cold water, then cut the skeleton into pieces and set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan over high heat, warm 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Add the onion, flour and sausage and sauté until the flour turns a medium-to-dark brown and exudes a slightly nutty aroma, 6-8 minutes. Add the bell pepper, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes and water. Stir well. Add the reserved fish skeleton and head and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and skim away any scum that rises to the surface. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

During the final 10 minutes the gumbo is cooking, prepare the sea bass. Cut the fillets into 4 equal pieces and season lightly with salt. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the fish pieces and sauté until lightly browned on the undersides, 4-5 minutes. Turn over the fish and cook until the fish is opaque throughout, 4-5 minutes longer, depending upon the thickness of the fillets.

Remove the gumbo from the heat. Remove and discard the skeleton and head. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the lemon slices and parsley, then stir in the filé powder.

TO SERVE: Ladle the gumbo into warmed soup bowls, place a piece of fish in each and garnish with the parsley sprigs.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
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Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 4
Calories: 734
Fat. Total: 39g
Fiber: 3g
Carbohydrates, Total: 21g
Sodium: 1149mg
% Cal. from Fat: 48%
Cholesterol: 181mg
Protein: 73g
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