Crab, Lobster, Shrimp & Rice Stew
This is one of the recipes I demonstrated at the KitchenAid event last weekend with the lovely Gail Simmons. This asopao (stew) is Trinidad-inspired, but it fits neatly into the Flo-ribbean cooking genre. The southeastern zeitgeist is all about Creole and Amer-Indian style meeting Florida’s amazing multiple growing seasons and all of the Gulf’s impressive bounty from the sea, sky and land. This asopao is pure Trini magic. Don’t be shy about passing plenty of extra limes and hot chile sauce at the table.
Asopao de Mariscos
- 1 pound of Jumbo lump crab meat, get the best you can find, it’s worth it in this dish
- Lobster meat from stock recipe below
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 4 garlic cloves sliced thin
- 2 slices fruit wood smoked thick cut bacon, cut in 1” pieces
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, halved, seeded and trimmed of its stem
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, chopped
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated coconut, toasted….don’t use the sweetened kind
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 4 cups rich homemade shrimp or shellfish stock*
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh or frozen ‘cooked’ green peas
- 1 pound wild ocean caught shrimp, U-15 size work best, peeled and deveined (from stock prep below)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 live Maine lobster (2# size)
- 1 pound 16-20 count shrimp
- 3 cups mixed diced carrot, celery, onion
- 1 leek, greens trimmed and discarded, split and washed, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons butter
In a large bowl, toss the shrimp, thyme, oregano and garlic. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large non-reactive heavy skillet on medium heat. When it’s as hot as you can make it be without getting too freaked out, add the shrimp and ‘brown’ on one side. Slide the half cooked shrimp on to a large plate and set aside.
Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, bell peppers and chile and cook until the onion is translucent and the peppers have softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and toasted coconut, then stir in the wine and cook until most of it has been absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Add the shellfish stock and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and cover. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the cover and stir in the shrimp, crab, lobster, peas and lime juice. Cover and cook for 6 minutes more.
Season to taste with sea salt, and serve, garnishing with the rest of the toasted coconut and some minced herbs like cilantro or chive. I like to remove the scotch bonnet halves before serving so that no one gets a surprise at the table, but I offer lots of chile sauce or minced chiles at the table and a bowl of cut lime wedges.
For the Shellfish Stock
Blanch lobsters, reserve meats for Asopao, discard head sacs and lungs.
Place shells between kitchen towels on a cutting board. Smash shells with a rolling pin.
Peel shrimp, reserve meats for recipe above, place shrimp shells with crushed lobster shells.
Heat butter until foaming in a 2 gallon pot and add the shells, tossing and stirring to lightly sear the shells. Add the tomatoes and cook briefly to caramelize them. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes more, add the remaining ingredients and add 1/2 gallon of water.
Bring to a simmer, cover and lower heat to maintain simmer, continue cooking for 1 hour.
Let cool for 1 hour on the counter and strain, pressing down on the solids. Utilize, refrigerate or freeze.