Sauce Picante is a spicy, tangy treasure of New Orleans cooking, and it forms the basis of this aromatic fish stew. Its flavor pairs perfectly with economical ocean perch fillets, and the acid in the tomatoes and hot sauce helps keep the fish firm.
If February has put a chill in your bones, bake up a batch of fresh biscuits and fix a big ol’ pot of this spicy perch stew, and you’ll soon feel as warm as Louisiana sunshine.
You can substitute catfish, tilapia, or whiting for the ocean perch with good results for a taste of Mardi Gras.
This recipe is adapted from my book the Knack Fish & Seafood Cookbook: Delicious Recipes for All Seasons which was co-authored by James Beard Award winner, Linda Beaulieu.
Here’s how to make the New Orleans Creole Perch Stew:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsps flour
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced green pepper
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 - 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 - 10 oz can Rotel-type tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lemon (one half juiced; other half thinly sliced)
2 lb skinless ocean perch fillets, cut into 2” chunks
2 Tbsp finely shredded parsley
2 scallions (green parts only), sliced thin on the diagonal
Heat oil in a large skillet. Cook the flour over medium heat until light brown.
Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in the celery, green pepper, and garlic; cook 5 minutes more.
Add tomatoes and stock; bring to a simmer and stir in tomato paste, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and lemon juice (reserve slices for garnish.)
Simmer 20 minutes. Fold fish into sauce; simmer 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes.
Adjust salt; garnish with parsley, green onion, and lemon slices.
Please join us soon to see our latest food and cooking article: New Fish and Seafood Recipe Ideas and Tips on About.Com: February 24th to March 2nd 2011.
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