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From "River Road Recipes... The Textbook of Louisiana Cuisine," published in cooperation with your Daily InBox newsletter.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 pounds fish filets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs thyme, minced very fine
  • 3 sprigs parsley, minced very fine
  • 3 bay leaves, minced very fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced very fine
  • 6 allspice, ground very fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2/3 cup sherry wine
  • 2 cups tomato pulp
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in very thin slices
  • 1 pint fish stock or boiling water
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  • Pinch of saffron, chopped fine
  • Buttered toast slices or rice

    TO PREPARE:

         (To make the fish stock, boil the heads of the red snapper and red fish in 1-1/2 quarts of water containing one sliced lemon and a herb bouquet of thyme, bay leaf and parsley.  When reduced to one pint, remove the fish heads and herb bouquet; strain the stock and reserve.)
         Rub each slice of the fish with salt and pepper and then with the mixture of minced herbs, garlic, and allspice.  The fish must be permeated by the herbs, garlic, and allspice to assure the success of this dish.  Heat oil or butter in a very large pan - so large that fish filets will not overlap.  Add onion to heat oil.  Lay fish slice by slice into the pan; cover and let "etouffee," or smother, about 10 minutes, turning once, so that each side may be partially cooked.  Remove fish filets.  Add wine and stir well.  Add tomato, lemon, and fish stock or water.  Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.  Let mixture boil until it is reduced almost one-half.  Add fish filets; cook about 5 minutes longer.  Add a little hot sauce to the pinch of saffron to dissolve it.  Spread saffron over top of fish.  Place fish on toast or rice; pour sauce over fish and serve immediately.

    NOTE:  
    Thackeray once said of the Creole Bouillabaisse:  "In New Orleans you can eat a Bouillabaisse, the likes of which was never eaten in Marseilles or Paris."  The reason for this New Orleans triumph is two matchless fish from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico - the red snapper and the red fish.  Use equal parts of each.

    SERVES: 6 - 8

     

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