Blackened Red Snapper

Blackened Red Snapper
Blackened Red Snapper

Dizzy Pig is back at it again adding to  their “-ish” rubs with the new release Bayouish. Once again, they’ve sent me a sample before they release it to try out. I honestly don’t know why they choose to include me on their little list of people who get to sample it first, but I am glad they did.

Dizzy Pig's new Bayouish
Dizzy Pig’s new Bayouish

Along with a small sample, they sent a little note.

Note
Note

Enough of all that. Time to get cooking.

Ingredients

  • about a pound of fish fillets, red snapper, red fish, catfish or trout (or even chicken or steak)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • Dizzy Pig’s Bayouish Seasoning (or other blackened seasoning)
  • lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
Snapper going into a screaming hot cast iron skillet on the grill
Snapper going into a screaming hot cast iron skillet on the grill

Directions

  1. Preheat your grill to hot. We had the Big Green Egg going steady at 650F. Allow your cast iron skillet to come up to heat with your grill.
  2. Brush both sides of your fish with melted butter and apply Bayouish liberally. Reserve remaining butter.
  3. After allowing your skillet to get “screaming” hot, carefully pour in a tbsp or so of butter and put the fish flesh side down.
  4. After two minutes, flip the fish and pour in another tbsp of butter and drizzle some on top of the fish. Cook for another two minutes or until fish is about 130F.
  5. Remove fish from skillet, squeeze lemon juice on top and enjoy.
Look at all that smoke!!
Look at all that smoke!!

Now why would you want to blacken your fish outside? Couldn’t you just do it inside? Check that above pic. See all that smoke? Can you imagine how smoky your house would be after that? This dish is better prepared outside so you don’t smoke out all your family, friends and/or pets.

Fresh off the gril...er...I mean cast iron skillet.
Fresh off the grill…er…I mean cast iron skillet.

     Sometimes, I don’t know what I would do without Mrs. G. She found a recipe somewhere and whipped up some dirty rice to go along with the fish. Not sure what all went into it except hot breakfast sausage, chicken livers (we had some left over from the risotto), celery and rice. Whatever it was, it was tasty.

Plated up and ready to eat.
Plated up and ready to eat.

     The red snapper was pretty darn tasty and I can see us using Dizzy Pig’s Bayouish often once they officially release it. It had a nice flavor and didn’t overpower the fish at all. If anything, Mrs. G and I both wish it had a bit more spice to it. I understand when marketing to the masses, you have to please a wide range of palettes, but the heat was just lacking in our humble opinions. Nothing a little hot sauce won’t fix. Or mixing in a little cayenne to the rub. Otherwise, the flavors were pretty well balanced. If you like really spicy food, this might not be the rub for you, but if you are addicted to blackened fish, you should give it a try.

Advertisements

Herbed Trout Fillets

Herbed Trout Fillets
Herbed Trout Fillets

     Back to the other day when I was wandering around aimlessly shopping at Sprouts and I spotted that beautiful okra. I needed something to go with the fried okra that I thought I was going to make. Fish is always a healthy choice and I figured I would make some blackened salmon or maybe catfish. When I got to the fish counter, the trout jumped out at me. It looked fresher and while a bit more than the catfish, it was cheaper than the salmon. Plus we like trout.

     My original thought was to do our Grilled Blackened Trout. We don’t like to do the traditional method of blackening inside our house. It get the house smokey, which in turn sets off the smoke alarm, which then freaks our dogs out causing them to either start barking or go into hiding. Not to mention makes the house smell. But with temperatures in the 20’s and me all nice and cozy in our warm house, lighting the Egg just did not seem to be in my future. So it was off to go scour the old interweb and see what kind of easy recipe I could find to go with our stewed okra and tomatoes. 

Herbed Trout Fillets 

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Herbed Trout Fillets

Ingredients

  • 4 6-8 oz trout fillets
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped green onions (or chives)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges as accompaniment

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler to 500F
  2. In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, Creole seasoning, garlic, parsley, green onions and oregano. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with foil and then place a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack with PAM. Arrange the fillets on top and then brush with vinaigrette.
  4. Broil 5-6 inches from heat until just cooked through, about 5 minutes or until temperature reaches 135F.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges.
Herbed trout fillets with stewed okra and tomatoes
Herbed trout fillets with stewed okra and tomatoes

     We really enjoyed this simple method for trout. Easy ingredients and total time from start to finish was under 10 minutes. By lifting the trout off the baking sheet and onto a wire rack, it allows the skin to crisp up a bit which is a plus in my book. And the trout paired really well with the stewed okra and tomatoes. I didn’t think that this recipe was going to be worthy of a post so I really didn’t work hard at the photos, but I was pleasantly surprised. I just wish I had taken better photos now. Oh well.

     And please, please if you are going to eat seafood, don’t reach for that bottle of tartar sauce. Do yourself a favor and quickly whisk up a batch. It really does make a difference and takes very little effort on your part. This is one we really enjoy: Home Made Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce

Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

Stewed okra and tomatoes
Stewed okra and tomatoes

     The other day I was walking through my local Sprouts and I spotted some beautiful okra sitting in a large barrel. For those that don’t have one in their area, Sprouts touts themselves as:

“Sprouts is a neighborhood grocery store with the feel of an old-fashioned farmers market. Our bright, friendly stores are filled with everyday staples and specialty items at a great value. You’ll find mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables, barrels of wholesome grains, nuts and sweets, full-service deli, meat and seafood counters—complete with homemade burgers and sausages. Roam around our spacious aisles and you’ll find fresh baked goods, eclectic beer and wine, gourmet cheese, sensibly-priced vitamins and supplements, and thousands of natural, organic and gluten-free groceries.”

It’s a great place to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef and exotic meats such as bison, elk and others. And if you are into it, they have all kinds of health nut things. Vitamins and organic this and that and gluten free everything. Great stuff if you are into it, but I mainly go to get fresh fruits and veggies.

     Like I was saying, I spotted some beautiful okra and I grabbed it thinking only of making fried okra. Then I got to thinking that fried was probably not the healthiest choice I could make and instead decided stewed okra and tomatoes would be much healthier and I’m glad I did. I knew that Mrs. G liked it. What I didn’t know was that it is one of her favorite dishes. Score some extra bonus points for me. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh okra, stems and tips removed and sliced (frozen is ok if that is all you can find)
  • 2 slices of thick bacon
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used red as Sprouts did not have green and I don’t like green anyway)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 14.5 can diced tomatoes with juices (basil, garlic and oregano preferably)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional 1 tsp of sugar (to cut the acidity if desired)
After simmering for awhile
After simmering for a while

Directions

  1. In a large saute pan, cook the two slices of bacon. When done, remove bacon and set aside. Coarsely chop when cool.
  2. Sautee the onion and bell pepper over medium heat in the reserved bacon grease until tender (add extra oil if needed). Once tender, add the garlic and sautee for an additional minute of two, making sure not to brown the garlic.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients including the chopped bacon, turn the stove down to a low simmer and cover the pan. Cook for about 30 minutes or until okra has reached your preferred texture.

*Note – this dish is even better if made the day before or if allowed to set for a few hours after cooking to allow the flavors to develop and marry.

Plated up with a nice piece of fish and home made tartar sauce.
Plated up with a nice piece of fish and home made tartar sauce.

     Even though I was craving fried okra when I was at the store, I’m glad I went the healthier route. This dish is chock-full of flavors. A little tart, a little sweet, a little heat and just the right amount of acidity. It doesn’t look very pretty on a plate, but don’t let its looks fool you. Mrs. G declared the dish a winner, although she said I overcooked the bacon. She thinks I shouldn’t have gotten it as crispy as I did.

     As for the fish, we’ll get to that tomorrow. Or the next day. In the meantime, you can find the recipe for our home made Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce HERE. The only changes we’ve made is to use yellow onion instead of the red onion. The red onion tends to turn the sauce pink if allowed to sit to long.

Grilled Blackened Trout w/ Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce (updated 2/11/14)

Blackened Trout with Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce
Blackened Trout with Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce

      Sticking with our current trend of trying to cook a bit healthier, I bring you our version of blackened trout. I say “our version” because we didn’t quite cook it the way it is supposed to be cooked.

     For those unfamiliar with blackening, it is a cooking technique used in the preparation of fish and other foods. Often associated with Cajun cuisine, this technique was popularized by Chef Paul Prudhomme. For this technique, the seafood (or chicken) is dipped in melted butter, then liberally coated with a mixture of herbs and spices and then cooked in a very hot cast iron skillet. The seafood should have a brown-black crust that results from a combination of the browned milk solids of the butter and the charred spices.

     While we could have gone that way, we opted to try and be a bit healthier by skipping the dredge in butter and instead lightly coated it in olive oil. Since the fat from the butter was omitted, I was afraid it might stick to a hot cast iron pan. Instead, I grilled it directly over open flame on a grill basket. It might not be truly authentic blackening and it might not be that much healthier, but it still tasted amazing! 🙂   

     And don’t get me started on the tartar sauce! That stuff should be illegal! I could eat it straight. In fact, I might have had a spoonful or two of it after I whipped it up. You won’t tell, will you? 😉 Do me a favor…toss out that jarred crap you have floating around somewhere in the back of your fridge and make your own. You can thank me later. Ok, let’s get started with the tartar sauce, since the longer you let it sit, the better it gets.

The trout went "meat" side down at 500F to start.
The trout went “meat” side down at 500F to start.

Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce

(serves 4)

  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 to 3 tbsp of prepared horseradish, I’ll let you decide how spicy you want it
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion (**update yellow onion work better**)
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 3 dashes of hot sauce (I prefer Frank’s, but feel free to sub in your own brand and adjust if you want more)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (2 hours would be better if you have the time)

After removing the trout, throw a few shrimp on for a few minutes.
After removing the trout, throw a few shrimp on for a few minutes.

Blackening Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix together ingredients in a small bowl. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container.

Mmmm...so tasty!
Mmmm…so tasty!

Ok, you’ve got your tartar sauce prepared and your blackening seasoning is mixed up and ready to go. Time to get started on the fish (and shrimp if you want to add some as well).

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium high. For our Big Green Egg, we stabilized it at 500F. I like to use a grill basket when doing fish as I find it easier to flip the fish. (If you don’t have one, it is not the end of the world. You can cook it on the original grates). Insert the grill basket onto your grill and let it come up to temperature with the grill.
  2. Brush your trout lightly with olive oil and season liberally with blackening seasoning. I mean go heavy with the stuff. Don’t hold back. If you are going to do some shrimp as well, shell the shrimp and dust with the seasoning.
  3. When you are ready to grill your fish, pour some oil on a paper towel and wipe down the grates on your grill. Trout is a fast cooking fish, so do not leave your grill while it is cooking. Place the trout meat side down on the oiled grates and grill for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip. If the fish is sticking to the grates, allow to cook 30 seconds to a minute more and then try to flip. The fish will cling to the grates until it is ready to flip. Once you flip the fish, grill for another minute or two. Remove from grill when fish reaches 135F.
  4. Allow fish to rest covered loosely with foil for 5 minutes. The temperature of the trout should carry over to 140-145 while resting.
  5. While the fish is resting, through a few shrimp on the grill if you like. They only take a few minutes per side.
  6. Serve with plenty of your home-made horseradish and tarragon tartar sauce on the side.
How can you resist?
How can you resist?

     Mrs. G told me later that evening that this had to be one of the best dinners we have cooked in weeks. The heat from the blackening seasoning was just right. The cool, creaminess of the tartar sauce offset it perfectly and the flavors were outstanding. She made me promise to never buy the jarred stuff again and to make it from scratch from now on. And the Brussel sprouts you see on the side there? Who knew I liked Brussel sprouts? I’ve been missing out all these years. Tune in later this week and we’ll show you how to make them. Mrs. G made them last night and I wasn’t paying attention, but she’s going to make them again tonight and I’ll make sure to take pictures and get a recipe. If only I knew before now…

Nutrional Facts Per Serving (minus the blackening seasoning and the shrimp)

Calories: 507   Protein: 47g   Carbs: 1g   Total Sugar: 0g   Total Fat: 33g   Saturated Fat: 4.8g

Cholesterol: 138mg   Sodium: 661mg   Fiber: 0g

**Update 2/11/14**

We’ve made the tartar sauce numerous times since this post was written. In fact, we no longer buy pre-made tartar sauce anymore. While the red onions work fine, we’ve found that if allowed to sit, they tend to “stain” the tartar sauce and make it pink. We have subbed in yellow onions and that has fixed the problem without significantly changing the flavor profiles. While the red onions might give it an aesthetically pleasing edge, unless it is to be served within a few hours, we now opt for yellow.

Paula Deen’s Crawfish Fettuccine

Paula Deen's Crawfish Fettuccini...mostly.
Paula Deen’s Crawfish Fettuccine…mostly.

     What do you do when you have crawfish leftover from a boil? No, really. What do you do? The easiest thing, and therefore the one I usually do, is make pasta. But I would love to hear what you do.

     I don’t know if Mrs. G was feeling bad for me for all the cooking I did this past weekend, or whether she just wanted to get into the kitchen and stretch her creative wings, but this meal is brought to you from her.  And I’m so glad she did, not only because it was AMAZING, but because if it was left up to me, we probably would have had Whataburger. 🙂

     I suppose when I was taking my usual Sunday afternoon nap, Mrs. G got online and started searching for a recipe that she wanted to make. I don’t know how long she took (although my nap was probably a good 2 hours), or what other things she looked at, but she decided to make Paula Deen’s Crawfish Fettuccine.

Sautee the onions, celery and garlic in butter
Sautee the onions, celery and garlic in butter

     Paula’s recipe serves 8-10 people. Well, there’s just two of us. We don’t mind leftovers, but that was way too much for us. Not to mention that we didn’t have enough crawfish. Mrs. G cut the recipe in half to better accommodate us.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped (Mrs. G left this out as she knows I can’t stand them. Is that love or what?)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 (10.75-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 4 ounces processed cheese with jalapenos, cubed
  • 16 oz of cooked, peeled crawfish (leftovers from a Crawfish Boil work perfectly)
  • 8 oz  fettuccine, cooked
  • Fresh chopped chives, for garnish
Adding the milk
Adding the milk

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and Cajun seasoning and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in the milk and cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly, 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add the soup and cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted.
  6. Add the crawfish, and cook until warmed through.
  7. Serve over the fettuccine. Garnish with chives, if desired.
Adding the cheese to the sauce
Adding the cheese to the sauce

     Mrs. Deen calls for processed cheese with jalapenos in her sauce. We didn’t have that on hand, so we just subbed in Velveeta. No need to make everything we eat spicy, is there?

Crawfish joining the party
Crawfish joining the party

See? I told you I was going to reveal what we did with those leftover crawfish from the crawfish boil.

Simmering away as the crawfish warm through
Simmering away as the crawfish warm through

     I sure do love crawfish! Wonder if we could tweak this sauce and come up with a killer seafood enchiladas? Hmmmm….that’s a thought for another day, back to the topic at hand.

Ready to eat!!
Ready to eat!!

     Wow!! What a decadent meal! Super rich and creamy. Full of flavor. Hope you aren’t on a diet or watching your calories or health. Recipes like this probably didn’t help Paula avoid diabetes. Is that too mean to say? I suppose if you limit how often you eat dishes like this, you’ll be ok. It was really tasty. I don’t think it lacked anything for not having processed cheese with jalapenos or the bell pepper. Mrs. G did comment on how she would like to tweak this to limit the amount of butter and fat in it. Try to make it more healthy. I’m all for that. While it was good, I can’t eat food like that every day. Probably shouldn’t eat it more than once a week, if that. But a life of boring bland food is a life not worth living!! So enjoy. And maybe pencil in a walk or a workout for later.

 

***Update***

     Sometimes (like  when I’m on top of my game), we do the cooks and write them up and schedule them for later. This cook was actually done Sunday and I wrote it up Monday and Tuesday even though it wasn’t scheduled to be posted until Friday. I don’t know if ironic is the word, maybe it was just karma biting me in the ass. Anyways….went to the doctor on Wednesday and it turns out I have diabetes. Guess maybe I shouldn’t have made that comment in the last paragraph. Whoops. Never fear! We are going to tackle this thing head on and follow the doctor’s orders. Sure, I’m going to have to learn to adjust my lifestyle and eating habits, but we are going to continue to bring you great tasting food, I promise!  Just maybe not like this dish represented here. But still…good food. Hope y’all have a great weekend and a Happy Easter.