Last year I attended a food conference in New York City and had the pleasure of hearing some of my favorite chefs and food writers speak. I've always been a huge fan of Amanda Hesser and her exquisite writing for the New York Times. Later I became enamored of her Food52 website, a vibrant online food community. But listening to Amanda in person along with her Food52 partner, Merrill Stubbs, talk about how they built their community and made it so interactive was truly inspiring. One of those ways was creating a weekly contest on Food52 where they suggested a recipe idea and home cooks could compete for the top prize by submitting and sharing their favorite recipes.
Amanda and Merrill have published two Food 52 cookbooks, the most recent one coming out this past fall. After getting my hands on both books I started cooking recipes from them and understood first hand why they are so popular with the circles of avid cooks they've united on the web. I had been wanting to make gumbo for quite a while, but never really got around to it. That was until the moment I set my eyes on their recipe and delectable image in the latest book.
Plump shrimp and bite size pieces of tomato and vegetables come together in this thick, hearty, yet healthy dish which is perfect on top of brown rice. While many gumbos can be flour-y or too buttery, but this one retains all the classic rich gumbo flavor while still being rather light. My whole family went crazy for it. The only bummer was when everyone wanted seconds and the pot was empty. C'est la vie… and c'est good food!
Accompaniments: white or brown rice for serving