“Inspired by the one and only legendary US chef Leah Chase, this spicy New Orleans classic is the ultimate surf & turf. A dark roux is key here, plus the ‘holy trinity’ base of onions, peppers and celery. Feel free to substitute the prawns with crayfish, and use any other type of cured sausage you like. It’s seriously good – pure comfort in a bowl. ”
Warm the stock in a pan over a low heat. Peel the prawns (keeping the tails on), throwing the heads and shells into the stock pan as you go. Run the tip of a knife down the backs of the prawns and pull out and discard the dark veins, then score a little deeper so they butterfly as they cook.
Slice the sausage into rough chunks, place in a large casserole pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then cook for 10 minutes, or until it has released its tasty fat.
Turn down the heat to low, then remove the sausage to a plate, leaving the fat behind in the pan. Stir the butter and flour into the pan, really scraping up all the sticky bits from the bottom. Continue stirring for 15 to 20 minutes (be patient!), or until dark golden brown – think peanut butter, but you can take it even darker, if you prefer (see tip). You want the roux to have a semi-loose, doughy consistency, so add a splash of oil if there isn’t a lot of fat.
Deseed the peppers, peel the onion and roughly chop with the celery, then stir into the roux pan (this is called the holy trinity). Scrunch and add the bay leaves and strip in the thyme leaves, then peel, finely chop and add the garlic, followed by the cayenne and Tabasco.
Put the sausage back into the pan, then scrunch in the tomatoes using clean hands, stirring as you go. Ladle the stock through a sieve into the pan, then let it blip away for 10 minutes.
Trim the green beans, slice each into three pieces, then add to the pan and cook for 6 minutes. Meanwhile, pick and finely chop the parsley.
Slice the sea bass fillets lengthways into thin strips, then halve the langoustines and crack the claws (if using). Sort through the cockles or clams and tap them – if any stay open, throw them away.
Add all the fish and seafood to the pan and simmer for a few minutes, or until perfectly cooked – the prawns should be pink and the clams or cockles open (discard any that remain closed), stirring regularly.
Squeeze over lemon juice to taste, and scatter with the chopped parsley. Delicious served with fluffy rice.
Be brave when you’re cooking the roux, and take it lovely and dark for next-level flavour. It may start to smoke slightly, but be patient and keep stirring to stop it from sticking.