Gone Fishing

Abundant, nutritious and delicious, fish is a Louisiana staple year-round and all around the state

One of the many great things about living in Louisiana is the abundance of our seafood. In addition to all the shellfish and crustaceans, we have a variety of delicious fish. Some species, such as black drum and sheepshead, were largely ignored in the past, but they make for delicious eating and are more abundant than the popular red snapper and redfish and can be substituted for them in virtually any recipe.


Catfish | Redfish | Grouper | Black Drum | Sheepshead |
Red Snapper | Flounder | Speckled Trout


Catfish

Fried and served with tartar sauce

2     cups milk
1     tablespoon hot sauce
2     pounds thin catfish fillets
1½     cups corn flour
1     teaspoon salt
¾     teaspoon black pepper
¾    teaspoon cayenne pepper
cooking oil
lemon wedges
tartar sauce

Tartar Sauce

1     cup mayonnaise
4     teaspoons sweet relish
1     teaspoon prepared horseradish
4     teaspoons minced onion
2     teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1     teaspoon chopped parsley
cayenne pepper to taste

Combine milk and hot sauce in a container large enough to accommodate the catfish. Add catfish and soak for 30 minutes or longer. Combine corn flour, salt and peppers in another container.

Heat oil in fryer or deep pot to 375 F. When oil is at proper temperature, remove a fillet from milk, shake off excess, dredge in corn flour, shake off excess and carefully ease into the hot oil. Repeat with additional catfish, being careful not to overcrowd fryer.

Cook until golden brown and crispy. Remove cooked catfish from fryer and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the fish is cooked. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.  

Tartar Sauce

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Refrigerate, covered, for a few hours for flavors to meld.

Makes 4 servings.

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Catfish can be either wild caught or farm raised, and both are available in Louisiana.
Catfish is most often fried, but it can also be broiled, baked or grilled with a variety of seasonings.


Redfish

Baked and served with Creole Sauce

2     tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1     medium onion, chopped
2     garlic cloves, minced
1     stalk celery, chopped
1     bell pepper, chopped
1     (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste
4     redfish fillets

In a heavy pot, heat olive oil and cook onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper until softened. Add tomatoes with their juice and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Season with salt, peppers and hot sauce. Cool to room temperature before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place fillets in large baking dish and cover with Creole sauce. Bake until fillets flake easily with a fork, about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Serve in large shallow bowls garnished with chopped parsley.  

Makes 4 servings.

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The late Paul Prudhomme put redfish on the national radar in the 1980s with his blackened redfish preparation.


Grouper

with Capers and White Wine

2     tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4     grouper fillets Cajun/Creole seasoning
1     cup dry white wine
4     teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed
1     teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1     tablespoon chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil a heavy-duty baking sheet.

Brush grouper fillets with olive oil. Season with Cajun/Creole seasoning. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Meanwhile, combine wine, capers and lemon juice in a small saucepan and boil until reduced by one-half.

Transfer fillets to serving plates. Divide caper sauce among them and garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

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Grouper has a mild, sweet flavor often said to be somewhere between bass and halibut.

The texture of grouper is firm, moist and flaky, making it suitable for a variety of preparations.


Black Drum

with White Wine and Shallots

1     cup dry white wine
1     tablespoon minced shallots
4     black drum fillets Cajun/Creole seasoning
2     tablespoons butter chopped parsley
lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine wine and shallots in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until wine is reduced to ½ cup.

Place fillets in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with Cajun/Creole seasoning. Divide the butter among them. Pour the wine and shallot mixture in the dish and bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets.

Transfer fillets to serving plates and spoon pan juices over them. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

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Once disparaged as a “trash fish,” black drum is now, rightfully, highly esteemed.


Sheepshead

with Green Salsa

2     tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4     sheepshead fillets
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges
Green salsa
Cilantro leaves for garnish
Green Salsa
4     tomatillos
½     cup chopped onion
1     serrano pepper, chopped
2     tablespoons chopped cilantro
½     teaspoon sugar big pinch salt
¼     cup water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a heavy duty F sheet. Brush fillets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Serve with green salsa and garnish with cilantro leaves.

GREEN SALSA

Remove husks from tomatillos. Wash tomatillos, place in a pan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Combine all ingredients in blender and puree. If salsa is too thick, add additional water.

Makes 4 servings.

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Red Snapper

with Lime and Avocado-Mango Salsa

2     tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4     red snapper fillets Cajun/Creole seasoning
lime wedges
Avocado-Mango Salsa
2     ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
1     ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
¼     cup diced red onion
2     tablespoons olive oil
1     tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Oil a heavy-duty baking sheet.

Brush fillets with olive oil and sprinkle with Cajun/Creole seasoning. Bake until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Serve with lime wedges and avocado-mango salsa.

Avocado-Mango Salsa

In a mixing bowl, place avocado, mango, onion, olive oil and lime juice, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.

Makes 4 servings.

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One of the most sought-after fishes from the Gulf, prized for its mild, sweet flavor.


Flounder

with Brown Butter

4     small flounder fillets
8     tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1     tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
1     tablespoon chopped parsley
lemon wedges

Preheat broiler. Brush a heavy duty baking sheet with butter and arrange flounder on it. Brush flounder generously with butter and season with salt and pepper. Broil until fillets flake easily (test with the tip of a small knife), about 8-10 minutes, depending on broiler and thickness of fish.

Cook melted butter in a sauce pan over low heat, shaking pan frequently, until it turns nut brown. (Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.) Add lemon juice to butter and pour into 4 small ramekins.

Transfer flounder to serving plates. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges and ramekins of brown butter for each diner.

Makes 4 servings.

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A tasty and versatile flatfish that can be prepared in a variety of ways.

The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book (1901) rates flounder “one of the finest fish found in the Mexican Gulf.”


Speckled Trout

Amandine

4     speckled trout fillets
coarse salt
½     cup all-purpose flour
3     tablespoons vegetable oil
4     tablespoons butter
½     cup sliced almonds
lemon wedges

Season fillets with salt, dredge fillets in flour, coating both sides, then place on wax paper. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add fillets and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn fillets and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes.

Transfer fillets to 4 serving plates. Pour off oil. Add butter and almonds to pan and cook, while stirring or tossing, until almonds are lightly colored. Top each fillet with almonds and butter. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

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In 1901, according to The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book, “Trout is especially recommended as a breakfast dish.”


TIPS
Louisiana Direct Seafood is a program whose mission is “to help coastal fishermen connect with consumers, and build community support for fresh, wild-caught seafood.” Check out louisianadirectseafood.com to find where you can buy seafood directly from the people who catch it.
When purchasing seafood, take an ice chest with either ice or frozen packs of a gel refrigerant. To keep seafood fresh after you get home, keep it on ice in the refrigerator.

DID YOU KNOW?
75 percent of the United States, commercial sea catch comes from estuaries and Louisiana is home to 35 percent of the estuary marshes in the contiguous U.S.

 

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