6-8 redfish fillets, 6-8 ounces each, trimmed and cut into pieces
6-8 speckled trout fillets, 6-8 ounces each, trimmed and cut into pieces
1/3 cup corn oil
2 cups yellow onions, diced small
1 cup celery, diced small
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped fine
6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup parsley, minced
1 can tomato paste, 12-oz. size
3 tomato paste cans full of chicken broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 can Hot Rotel Tomatoes with chilies, 10-oz. size
3 whole bay leaves
2 teaspoons sweet basil
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
3 teaspoons Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Frank Davis Garlic Hot Sauce
1 large lemon, zested and thinly sliced
6 cups cooked long grain rice
3/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
2 lemons cut in wedges
Buttered French bread for sopping
First take both your trout and redfish fillets, wash them thoroughly under cold running water, and trim away every trace of the bloodline (if you leave it on, the final dish will take on a harsh oily taste) and any sliver of rib bones that might have escaped the filleting knife.
Then pat the fillets dry with paper towels and lay them side by side momentarily on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on the countertop.
In the meantime, take a heavy 6-quart aluminum Dutch oven or oval roaster, place it on the stovetop over a medium flame, and pour in the corn oil.
When the oil is hot, begin adding the fish pieces to the pot a few at a time so that they are not crowded and have room to fry.
When they turn slightly brown around the edges, quickly remove them from the pot and set them aside on a platter to cool.
Immediately after all the fish has been seared, drop the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and parsley into the same pot and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the veggies totally wilt butbe careful not to burn the garlic or it will turn the sauce you're fixin' to make bitter-tasting.
Now is the time to add the tomato paste in with the vegetable mixture and whisk everything together until the veggies fully combine with the paste.
This should take roughly about 5 minutes and you don't want to rush it, because this is when the base flavors actually marry to create the foundation for the sauce piquante.
After the allotted cooking time, pour in both the chicken broth and the red wine and stir in the Rotel tomatoes (along with the liquid the tomatoes came packed in).
Then whisk thoroughly at this point to completely liquefy the paste if done right, a smooth rich tomato-base sauce should begin taking form.
At this point drop in the remaining ingredients the bay leaves, basil, thyme, seafood seasoning, Worcestershire, cayenne, hot sauce, and the zested and thinly sliced lemon (everything, in other words, except for the rice, green onions, and lemon wedges).
When everything is in the pot, stir it into a uniform blend.
Now reduce the flame under the pot to medium-low, cover the pot tightly, and gently cook the sauce for about 30 minutes to 'temper' it.
When it's ready, one at a time and very gently, place the fish fillets into the sauce, nestling them in 'side-by-side' but being extra careful not to break them up.
Then once more, cover the pot tightly, reduce the fire to very low and simmer the fish pieces until the fillets flake easily with a fork.
But don't stir the pot again! It will merely reduce the fish pieces to nothing more than 'fish flakes.'
Finally, when you're ready to eat, simply spoon out a generous helping of the fish, along with a healthy portion of the spicy sauce in which it cooked, over a plate of steamed rice, sprinkle it all with a handful of sliced green onions, and garnish it with a wedge of lemon.
Oh, and of course, the French bread for sopping up the sauce!
- What kind of red wine? Port, Burgundy, Cabernet, Merlot or any other kinds that you enjoy drinking. The benchmark is. . .if you wouldn't drink it by the glass, don't cook with it by the pot!
- To intensify the flavor of the redfish and speckled trout, you might want to sprinkle the individual pieces with your favorite cayenne-based Cajun seasoning prior to adding them to the sauce.
- For a little added flavor in the sauce, instead of sauteing the veggies in corn oil saute them in sausage or bacon drippings.
- For the absolute ultimate in quality and taste, this recipe should be prepared just before it is served as opposed to fixing it in advance and reheating it. Reheating sometimes creates a 'strong taste' in the fish.
- If you're wondering what accompanies the dish well, I suggest a simple green salad dressed with Greek vinaigrette and sprinkled with garlic croutons and an accompanying dish of French fried okra. Ummmm!.