Redfish, after several years of absence from markets (though not from sports fishermen’s ice chests) are starting to reappear. This elegant, light dish shows off its quality well; you can substitute trout, small amberjack, black drum, or sheepshead for the redfish.
The aroma of this dish is especially nice. It comes from Herbsaint, an anise-flavored liqueur made in New Orleans. The original inspiration came from Chef Gunter Preuss, the owner of Broussard’s. He made something much like this at his previous restaurant, Versailles on St. Charles Avenue.
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 fillets of flaky Gulf fish, about 6 oz. each
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 rib celery, strings removed and sliced into matchsticks (about 1/2 cup)
- 6 black peppercorns
- 2 leeks, white part only, well washed and sliced into matchsticks (about 2 cups)
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 Tbs. Herbsaint (or Pernod)
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup lump crabmeat
1. In a stainless-steel skillet, bring one cup of the wine and all of the lemon juice to just barely a simmer over low heat. Add the fish, carrots, celery, and peppercorns and poach for 8-10 minutes. Check it after five minutes to see that it doesn’t overcook (the fish should not fall apart into flakes when done).
2. While the fish is poaching, sauté the leeks in 1 Tbs. butter until they turn soft–about three minutes. Add the remaining wine and bring to a boil. Cook for another minute, then turn off the heat.
3. Remove the fish when done to a warm plate. To the poaching liquid in the skillet add the remaining butter, cream, Herbsaint, salt and pepper. Over a medium fire reduce it for about five minutes, until the mixture thickens.
4. Add the crabmeat and cook, agitating the pan lightly, until the crabmeat is cooked through.
5. Place the leeks on the serving plate, put the fish with the celery and carrots atop that, and top with the sauce.