This week's cookin' installment will feature yet another Cajun classic, Redfish Courtbouillon (heathens, it's pronounced koo-be-yon -- say it right and maybe nobody will notice you're from north of I-10). Courtbouillon means "short boil," and basically is a thick, roux-based poaching liquid for seafood. Redfish are the tradition for this, as the meat's firm enough to not break up while cooking. Tillapia, Snapper or Sac-a-lait can be substituted if Redfish aren't immediately available for you. This can be served over rice, or pasta if you'd like to change things up a bit.
The recipe comes from John Folse's Hooks, Lies & Alibis seafood cookbook. As for the addition of shrimp, well that just makes everything better. Well, almost everything. I wouldn't recommend throwing some shrimp on like a cupcake or a waffle or something like that. Anyways, I digress...
3-4 large Redfish fillets, cut into small pieces
1 pound Shrimp (I wouldn't recommend larger than 21-25 count, but I went smaller, to get more shrimp)
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ quarts fish stock
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 ½ tbsps lemon juice
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp chopped basil
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/8 tsp allspice
salt/pepper/garlic powder to taste
1. First you make a roux, in a large Dutch oven.
2. Once the roux is a good, dark brown, add the diced onions, bell pepper, celery and bay leaves. Saute until wilted, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Add stock slowly, stirring as you do it to keep the sauce at a good consistency. Add lemon juice, wine, thyme, basil, marjoram and allspice.
4. Bring the mixture to a good roiling boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 45 minutes, or until the sauce is good and thick. As usual, longer is better, and you can always add liquid if too much cooks out. Once you add the seafood, some water will render out and thin things a little, so you want things good and thick at this stage. Be sure to taste, and add salt, pepper or garlic powder as you like.
5. When the sauce has reached desired thickness, return to a low boil, then add the shrimp and fish. It's important to get it back to a boil first, so that the flavors can properly seep in to the meat. Boil for 3-5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and curled. Serve immediately, so the meat does not overcook -- be sure to not add the seafood until you're ready to eat. Serves about 6 people.