Whole Redfish Courtbouillon

Whole Redfish Courtbouillon

When Chef Eric Cook isn’t working at his New Orleans restaurant Gris Gris, chances are he’s fishing or hunting. Growing up, Eric would go fishing with his father, who turned their fresh catch into a delectable meal at the end of the trip. One of Eric’s favorites was redfish courtbouillon, a rich and spicy fish stew. Even when Eric makes this dish today, the aroma overwhelms him with memories of time spent on the water with his dad. Redfish courtbouillon is often made with fish fillets, but in this version, Eric uses a whole fish for a more stunning presentation.

Whole Redfish Courtbouillon
Yields: 4-6 servings
  • 1 (18- to 20-inch) redfish, cleaned and scales removed (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 4 lemons, halved and charred
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, plus more to taste
  • 12 cups water, divided
  • 8 Creole tomatoes
  • 1 cup blended oil
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1½ cups chopped white onion, divided
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 1 crab, cleaned and halved
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • Garnish: fresh parsley
  1. Using a sharp knife, score fish along both sides all the way to spine. Squeeze lemon juice over both sides of fish. Reserve lemon hulls. Sprinkle inside and outside of fish with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning. Place fish on a baking sheet, and refrigerate until cooking.
  2. In a medium stockpot, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Using a paring knife, make small slits in tomatoes, and gently place in boiling water. Cook tomatoes until skin at cuts begins to curl back. Transfer tomatoes to an ice bath, and let stand until cool. Peel tomatoes, discarding skin; roughly chop.
  3. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat oil until almost smoking. Add celery, 1¼ cups onion, and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Add garlic and parsley; cook, stirring until garlic is toasted.
  4. Sift flour into pot while stirring with a wooden spoon. Add tomato paste, and stir until tomato mixture is caramelized and fragrant. If mixture is getting dry, add a small amount of seafood stock. Slowly add stock, crab, and reserved tomatoes. Stir mixture, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; add reserved lemon hulls, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce reaches a thick consistency.
  5. In a medium stockpot, melt butter over low heat. Add remaining ¼ cup onion; cook until translucent. Add rice, and stir until combined and glossy. Add remaining 4 cups water; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and keep covered until ready to serve.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Bake redfish until flesh is tender and flakes easily with a fork, about 45 minutes. Pour tomato sauce on platter, and add fish, crab, and rice. Garnish with lemon hulls and parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.




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