Seafood is a Southern tradition. Early on, Southerners established a tradition of fish and shellfish cookery. A diversity of waters—bayous, bays, streams, sounds and the Atlantic Ocean—produced a diversity of foods such as finfish, oysters, blue crabs, shrimp, clams and scallops. Over time, a diversity of cuisines followed.
Centuries ago, early French and Spanish flavors blended. Later the English brought their style. And African-Americans came to infuse the flavors of Africa as well. Legendary Cajun and Creole cooking associated with Louisiana was inspired and enhanced by Native Americans and African-Americans.
Heat oil in heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and cook until the mixture, known as “roux,” is copper-colored, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add onion, celery and garlic and cook until tender. Add broth, tomatoes, Worcestershire, Tabasco, bay leaf, 2 tablespoons parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, pepper and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add okra. Simmer 25 minutes. Add fish, shrimp and oysters. Simmer 5 minutes. Add crabmeat and continue simmering until fish, shrimp and oysters are done, about 5 more minutes.
Serve over hot rice, if desired. Garnish with remaining parsley.
Contributed by Joyce Taylor