some fish recipe from the great Paul Prudhomme

Blackened redfish and 9 other inspirational recipes from chef Paul Prudhomme

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4.6kshares

Every Louisiana cook who turns the heat up high to make a roux pays homage to the man who changed Louisiana – and American – food and cooking. Chef Paul Prudhomme, who died Oct. 8 at age 75, inspired hundreds of imitation Cajun restaurants spotted across America like a teenager’s unfortunate skin. But his greatest achievement may be that he taught Americans how to cook, taste and to season their food in a new way.

Through his best-selling cookbooks,  nationally televised PBS cooking shows filmed at WYES-TV, a generation of chefs and home cooks learned from the man whose ebullient personality and love of food showed in everything he did.

Several readers have suggested a statue of the country’s first celebrity chef would be a fitting replacement for any Confederate general. Here’s an immediate idea: Pay respects to the great man by making dinner.

The Times-Picayune printed lots of his recipes, most with stories written by Dale Curry, who retired as food editor in 2004. She interviewed Prudhomme countless times and wrote this in an appreciation of the chef’s contributions: “Nothing was too fresh or too much trouble. He might tell a cook to crack two fresh coconuts or debone eight rabbit legs; this was Prudhomme’s purist approach.”

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One of his earliest recipes — and likely his most famous — nearly wiped the redfish off the Gulf fisheries map. It accompanied Curry’s story about the 1984 publication of his first cookbook, “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen,” which became a best-seller.

Prudhomme’s cooks didn’t have time to spend half an hour stirring a roux, so he taught them, and us, to heat the oil for five minutes then add the flour, stirring madly with a long-handled whisk.

His recipe signature for Blackened Redfish, however, was seasoning. Curry compared the complexity of his recipes with Julia Child’s, as many referred to two or three other recipes for stock or a seasoning mix, and most had a long list of herbs and spices. (The redfish recipe had nine.)

Below are four recipes from that 1984 story, plus six more from our files. Of particular interest may be the ones from 2000, from his “Louisiana Tastes” cookbook, in which he included detailed notes on how the dishes should taste.

What other chef has done this?

Prudhomme’s palate can be compared to a musician’s perfect pitch. His seasonings mixes facility in Elmwood ships products around the world, in bulk for foodservice as well as the familiar consumer sizes. Restaurant chains and other food manufacturers hired Prudhomme to create custom seasoning mixes, for entire menus or special items.

His K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen on Chartres Street remains a draw for locals and visitors from around the world.

Paul Prudhomme, superstar chef remembered Watch as fans from Alaska to New Jersey reminisce about superstar chef Paul Prudhomme, who fathered the Cajun food phenomenon that swept the nation in the 1980s, from his home base at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen restaurant in the French Quarter. For details of Prudhomme’s career search NOLA.com for the story: “Internationally known chef Paul Prudhomme dies at age 75.”

The tastes he created live on in many ways, changing the complexion of America’s food. These recipes and the many others in his cookbooks are one way the chef’s legacy will endure, more than a statue on a pedestal ever could.

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From The Times-Picayune, April 5, 1984.

The cookbook includes this note: Redfish and pompano are ideal for this method of cooking. If tilefish is used, you may have to split the fillets in half horizontally to have the proper thickness. If you can’t get any of these fish, drum, salmon steaks or red snapper fillets can be substituted. In any case, the fillets or steaks must not be more than 3/4 inch thick.

Blackened Redfish

Makes 6 servings

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted in a skillet

Seasoning mix:

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)

3/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

6 (8- to 10-ounce) fish fillets, preferably redfish, pompano or tilefish, cut about 1/2-inch thick

Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is beyond the smoking stage and you see white ash in the skillet bottom (the skillet cannot be too hot for this dish), at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tables

One of his earliest recipes — and likely his most famous — nearly wiped the redfish off the Gulf fisheries map. It accompanied Curry’s story about the 1984 publication of his first cookbook, “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen,” which became a best-seller.

Prudhomme’s cooks didn’t have time to spend half an hour stirring a roux, so he taught them, and us, to heat the oil for five minutes then add the flour, stirring madly with a long-handled whisk.

His recipe signature for Blackened Redfish, however, was seasoning. Curry compared the complexity of his recipes with Julia Child’s, as many referred to two or three other recipes for stock or a seasoning mix, and most had a long list of herbs and spices. (The redfish recipe had nine.)

Below are four recipes from that 1984 story, plus six more from our files. Of particular interest may be the ones from 2000, from his “Louisiana Tastes” cookbook, in which he included detailed notes on how the dishes should taste.

What other chef has done this?

Prudhomme’s palate can be compared to a musician’s perfect pitch. His seasonings mixes facility in Elmwood ships products around the world, in bulk for foodservice as well as the familiar consumer sizes. Restaurant chains and other food manufacturers hired Prudhomme to create custom seasoning mixes, for entire menus or special items.

His K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen on Chartres Street remains a draw for locals and visitors from around the world.

Paul Prudhomme, superstar chef remembered Watch as fans from Alaska to New Jersey reminisce about superstar chef Paul Prudhomme, who fathered the Cajun food phenomenon that swept the nation in the 1980s, from his home base at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen restaurant in the French Quarter. For details of Prudhomme’s career search NOLA.com for the story: “Internationally known chef Paul Prudhomme dies at age 75.”

The tastes he created live on in many ways, changing the complexion of America’s food. These recipes and the many others in his cookbooks are one way the chef’s legacy will endure, more than a statue on a pedestal ever could.

*

From The Times-Picayune, April 5, 1984.

The cookbook includes this note: Redfish and pompano are ideal for this method of cooking. If tilefish is used, you may have to split the fillets in half horizontally to have the proper thickness. If you can’t get any of these fish, drum, salmon steaks or red snapper fillets can be substituted. In any case, the fillets or steaks must not be more than 3/4 inch thick.

Blackened Redfish

Makes 6 servings

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted in a skillet

Seasoning mix:

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)

3/4 teaspoon white pepper

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

6 (8- to 10-ounce) fish fillets, preferably redfish, pompano or tilefish, cut about 1/2-inch thick

Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over very high heat until it is beyond the smoking stage and you see white ash in the skillet bottom (the skillet cannot be too hot for this dish), at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons melted butter in each of 6 small ramekins; set aside and keep warm. Reserve* the remaining butter in its skillet. Heat the serving plates in a 250-degree oven.

Thoroughly combine seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl. Dip each fillet in the reserved melted butter so that both sides are well coated; then sprinkle seasoning mix generously and evenly on both sides of the fillets, patting it in by hand. Place fish in the hot skillet and pour 1 teaspoon melted butter on top of each fillet (be careful, as the butter may flame up).

Cook, uncovered, over the same high heat until the underside looks charred, about 2 minutes (the time will vary according to the fillet’s thickness and the heat of the skillet). Turn the fish over and again pour 1 teaspoon butter on top. Cook until fish  is done, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with remaining fillets. Serve each fillet while piping hot.

To serve, place one fillet and a ramekin of butter on each heated serving plate.

Blackened Gulf fish is still a popular dish at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen on Chartres Street. (NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Archive)

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Cajun Seafood Gumbo With Andouille Smoked Sausage 

Makes 10 main-dish or 20 appetizer servings

2 cups chopped onions

1-1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers

1 cup chopped celery

SEASONING MIX: 

2 whole bay leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground red-pepper (preferably cayenne)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/4teaspoon dried oregano leaves

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon minced garlic

5-1/2 cups basic seafood stock (recipe follows)

1 pound andouille smoked sausage (preferred) or any other good pure smoked pork sausage such as polish kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 pound peeled medium shrimp

1 dozen medium to large oysters in their liquor, about 9 ounces

3/4 pound crabmeat, picked over

2-1/2 cups cooked rice for serving

Combine onions, bell peppers and celery in a medium-size bowl. In small bowl combine the seasoning mix ingredients.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Gradually add flour, whisking constantly with a long-handled metal whisk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until roux is dark red-brown to black, about 2 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let it scorch or splash on your skin. Immediately add half the vegetables and stir well (switch to a spoon if necessary). Continue stirring and cooking about 1 minute. Then add remaining vegetables and cook and stir about 2 minutes. Stir in seasoning mix and continue cooking about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; stir well, then cook and stir about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, place stock in a 5-1/2-quart saucepan or large dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Add roux mixture by spoonfuls to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between each addition. Bring mixture to a.boil add andouille and return to a boil; continue boiling 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes more.

Add shrlmp, undrained oysters and crabmeat. Return to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and skim any oil from the surface. Serve immediately.

To serve as a main course, mound 1/4 cup rice in the middle of each serving bow. Spoon 1 cup gumbo over the top, making sure each person gets an assortment of the seafood and andouille. Serve half this amount in a cup as an appetizer.

Seafood stock: In a stock pot or large saucepan, combine about 2 quarts cold water with vegetable trimmings from the recipe(s) you are serving, or 1 medium onion, unpeeled, quartered; 1 large clove garlic, unpeeled, quartered, 1 rib celery. Add 1-1/2 to 2 pounds rinsed shrimp heads and/or shells, or crawfish heads and/or shells, or crab shells (2-1/2 to 3 quarts), or rinsed fish carcasses (heads and gills removed, or oyster liquor or any combination of these.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then gently simmer at least 4 hours, preferably 6. Replenish water as needed to keep about 1 apart of liquid in the pan. The pot may be uncovered or set a lid on it askew. Strain, cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cajun Meat Loaf

Makes 6 servings

SEASONING MIX:

2 whole bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)

1 teapoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

MEAT LOAF:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers .

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup ketchup

1-1/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup very fine dry bread crumbs

Combine seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.

Melt butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, Tabasco, Worcestershire and seasoning mix. Saute until mixture starts sticking excessively, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom well. Stir in milk and catsup. Continue cooking about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place ground beef and pork in an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Add eggs, cooked vegetable mixture (removing the bay leaves) and bread crumbs. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. In the center of the pan, shape mixture into a loaf about 1-1/2 inches high, 6 inches wide and 12 inches long. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400 and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer. Serve immediately.