A Little Flavor of New Orleans

It’s always fun to try out new flavors at the dinner table.  It is really easy to find yourself stuck in a rut when cooking for the family, especially when they have their favorite dishes or your not eating supper until 8:30 or 9:00 at night!  Throwing our own little Mardi Gras party last week allowed me to add a little spice (that thankfully wasn’t Mexican!) to our supper.
Our Mardi Gras Menu consisted of Shrimp Cocktail, Red Snapper Courtboullion, Rice, Succotash, and beignets for dessert.  The courtbullion was a combination of several recipes, but it turned out great!  It was also a great way to utilize some of the tomatoes I canned late last summer.  Nothing like homegrown goodness in the winter!
Here is the version of courtbullion that I made for our family dinner.
Red Snapper Courtboullion
2 slices fresh ginger
Zest of 1 lemon
2 bay leaves
2 fresh sprig of thyme
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 sweet onions, wedged
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes
1/2 cup Chenin blanc
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (less if you do not like the heat)
3 T. sugar
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 Red Snapper fillets
sliced chives or green onion tops for garnish
1. In a large dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery to the melted butter and cook about five minutes, until the onions begin to turn a pale golden color.  Stir often for even cooking and to prevent burning.  Add the garlic and sautée about a minute to release the fragrance.
2. Make a bouquet garni using the ginger, lemon zest, thyme and bay leaves:  Crush the ginger slices first to release the flavor.  Arrange the seasonings on a small square of cheesecloth and secure it with kitchen string.
3.  Add the bouquet garni to the dutch oven along with the wine, tomatoes, and cayenne pepper.  Raise the heat a little and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently , stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
4.  Add the sugar, salt and pepper.  Taste for bitterness.  You may want to add a bit more sugar.
5. Salt and pepper the fish fillets.  Arrange them on top of the courtboullion, spooning some of the sauce over the fish.  Cover the pan and continue cooking until the fish is cooked through and beginning to flake.  This will take about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.
Discard the bouquet garni and spoon the courtboullion over hot steamed rice.
I’ll be honest with you mine was not a juicy as it should have been as I lost track of time and let too much of the juices evaporate.  Despite that mistake, the courtboullion tasted really fabulous.  This would also be delicious made with shrimp as well.
I thought that I would share my beignet recipe here as well……..
I found this delicious mix at World Market, Chattanooga
If you are ever in New Orleans, Cafe du Mode is THE place for beignets.  Since I figured that there was no way to mimic these, I would shoot as close to perfection as possible!

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