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Bronze Medal

A winning redfish recipe

It was 1980 and I had yet to make it out of middle school when the late, beloved Chef Paul Prudhomme immortalized Blackened Redfish at his recently opened K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. He had been experimenting with a method of coating seafood with a variety of Cajun herbs and spices to mimic those found on the Opelousas farm where he grew up. Regarding redfish, he would fully coat a fillet first in clarified butter then in the spice blend before dropping it into a ripping hot cast iron. The result was crisp, buttery and spicy outside, mild and succulent inside. 

Blackened Redfish became an often-replicated instant hit that exploded into the stratosphere when Chef Paul released his seminal cookbook “Chef Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen” the same year the ill-fated Louisiana World Exposition devoted some significant real estate to the exploration of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cuisines. Though the city had no claim whatsoever to Cajun cuisine when visitors started looking for it anyway, restaurateurs complied. The recipe for Blacked Redfish was in Chef Paul’s book and sales soared.

Replicating the recipe at home meant the house would fill with smoke and the smoke alarm would shriek but this did not stop me from trying it anyway, prone as I was to culinary experimentation from a young age. Many shared this enthusiasm so much so that the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission outlawed the commercial harvesting of Red Drum aka Redfish in January 1988, and it remains so. 

Despite the popularity of his blackening technique Chef Paul ultimately determined his “bronzing” technique to be better suited to the home cook. 

“This avoids the smoke and the risk of handling a red-hot skillet while still achieving an excellent result,” he told The Miami Herald in 2009.


Bronzed Redfish with Jumbo Lump Crab (or Shrimp)

Shared by Chef Jimi Setchim, Broussard’s Restaurant

Serves 4

4 six-ounce Redfish fillets

Creole Seasoning

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, in all 

8 ounces lump or jumbo lump crabmeat, carefully picked over for shells and cartilage (see NOTE)

½ cup minced garlic, divided in half 

½ cup minced shallots divided in half

½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter, cubed

12 ounces haricots verts, trimmed and blanched, at room temperature

4 ripe Creole tomatoes, diced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Snipped chives

1. Preheat the oven to the lowest possible temperature.

2. Season the fish with Creole seasoning.

3. Working in batches, if necessary, add I tablespoon of olive oil per piece of fish to a large non-stick skillet set over medium heat. 

4. When the oil shimmers add the fish and cook until it is golden brown, 2-3 minutes.

5. Flip the fish and continue cooking until the edges of the fish flake easily with a fork, about 2 minutes more.

6. Hold the cooked fish in warm oven while you finish cooking the rest of the fish and make the sauce.

7. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a medium non-stick pan over medium heat.

8. When the oil shimmers add shallots and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.

9. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more 

10. Add the white wine and cook until slightly reduced, 2 -3 minutes. 

11. Add the lemon juice and simmer for 30.

12. Add the heavy cream and cook until reduced by half, 5-7 minutes.

13. Gently stir in the crabmeat and heat until warned through.

14. Slowly stir in the cubed butter. Set aside in a warm place.

15. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil to a large non-stick pan set over medium heat.

16. When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.

17. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more 

18. Add the blanched green beans and sauté until heated through.

19. Add the tomatoes and warm through until they just begin to release their juices.

20. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper.

21. To serve, divide the vegetables evenly within the centers of four dinner plates.  Divide the fish fillets atop the vegetables. Spoon the warm crab over the top of the fish fillets. Drizzle the lemon butter sauce around the fish. Garnish with chives. 

Note: Try the recipe with 1/2 pound of peeled, and deveined, (21/25) Gulf shrimp instead of crabmeat. Add them where the recipe calls for crabmeat and cook them until they are fully pink, about 4 minutes.

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