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Grilled Redfish & Crabmeat With Lemon-Butter Sauce

Executive Chef Austin Kirzner of Red Fish Grill shares their signature dish

Jeffery Johnston Photograph


Grilled Redfish and Crabmeat
1 recipe’s worth lemon butter sauce*
About 1 Tablespoon salad oil (not olive oil)
    for brushing on the grill rack and fish fillets
1/4 cup good-quality dry white wine, divided,
    plus a few Tablespoons if grilling fillets in batches
6 skinless redfish fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each,
    neatly trimmed, with “belly” removed
2 Tablespoons Creole seasoning
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf warm French bread, for the table

Clean grill rack with a wire brush and preheat until hot. Add wet or dry hickory or other wood chips. Brush rack with a thick wad of paper towels saturated in salad oil, holding the paper towels with long-handled tongs so you don’t burn yourself.

While grill is preheating, prepare the lemon butter sauce and keep warm as directed in the sauce recipe.

Place the fillets on a work surface. Brush both sides with salad oil and season each fillet evenly on both sides with Creole seasoning, using 1/2-teaspoon of seasoning on each side of each fillet.

Once grill is ready, place fillets directly on it and cook until they’re done, about 2 1/2 to 4 minutes per side. (The cooking time will vary according to the heat of the grill and the thickness of the fillets. Watch closely so fish doesn’t overcook.) Use a broad, large and sturdy spatula to turn over fillets at least once while cooking.

When you think the fish is approaching the level of doneness you’re looking for, briefly insert the tip of a knife into the thickest part of the fillet. Then lay the tip of the blade flat against the inside of your wrist. If the tip feels hot against your skin the fish should be done.

If cooking the fillets in batches, transfer them to a heat-proof platter placed in a warm spot and drizzle fillets with white wine to keep them moist while grilling the remaining fish.

While fillets are grilling, sauté the crabmeat. In a heavy 12-inch sauté pan, melt butter over medium-high heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine and heat for 30 seconds. Add the crabmeat and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Cook until crabmeat is just warmed through, about 2 minutes, lightly tossing so the lumps of crabmeat stay intact. Serve immediately.

*Lemon Butter Sauce
1 1/2 cups good-quality dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced or very finely
    grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon, packed, minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
7/8 pound (3 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter,
    cut into about 20 pats
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
    or to taste

In a heavy, nonreactive 3-quart saucepan, combine wine, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, shallots, garlic and thyme. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid reduces to 1 to 2 Tablespoons, about 5 minutes.

Add cream and cook until liquid reduces to 1 to 2 Tablespoons, about 4 minutes. (The sauce may be prepared to this point up to 45 minutes ahead and left at room temperature. Reheat the cream mixture briefly over medium heat, whisking constantly, before proceeding.)

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook as you add 2 pats of butter at a time, whisking constantly, until all butter is added and incorporated; each addition of butter should be almost completely melted in before adding more. This will take roughly 10 to 15 minutes total. Remove from heat.

Whisk in kosher salt and pepper.

If serving sauce immediately, strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan. If not serving promptly, strain the sauce into the top of a double boiler and serve as soon as possible – definitely within 1 hour – keeping it warm, uncovered, over hot (not simmering) water.

To Plate
Arrange a fish fillet on each heated dinner plate. Top each with a portion of crabmeat and spoon 3 Tablespoons of sauce over.   
Serves 6

Red Fish Grill
115 Bourbon St.


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