Brigtsen’s is celebrating their 30 anniversary this year. Frank Brigtsen is a genius when it comes to the kitchen. He apprenticed under the great Paul Prudhomme, first at Commander’s Palace then becoming the first night chef at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. Chef Paul helped him and his wife Marna open Brigtsen’s. So over the next two weeks, I will feature recipes from Chef Frank. Here is one from the Chef’s Charity in 1997.
1 pound dressed Blue Crabs (Gumbo Crabs)
7 cups cold Water
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup diced Carrots, 1/4 inch pieces
2 cups diced celery, 1/4 inch pieces
3 cups diced Yellow Onions, 1/4 inch pieces
2 Bay Leaves
3/4 cup peeled fresh small Shrimp
1 teaspoon minced fresh Garlic
2 teaspoons Salt
1/8 teaspoon ground White Pepper
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Thyme
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped Oregano
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped Basil
2 cups fresh firm Fish Fillets (Snapper, Redfish, Sheepshead, or Drum), diced into 1/2 inch pieces
To make the crab stock
Break each crab into 4 pieces. Place the crabs in a pot and cover with 7 cups of cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.
To make the chowder
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add the celery, onions and bay leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables begin to soften, 8-10 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the shrimp, garlic, salt, white pepper, cayenne, thyme, oregano and sweet basil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the crab stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables become soft, 8-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and puree the vegetable mixture.
In a heavy-duty saucepan, add 5 cups of crab stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the pureed shrimp and vegetable mixture. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced fish fillets and cook until the fish iss just done, 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6.