Snapper with Shrimp Creole Sauce starts with a Creole trinity of onions, celery, and green pepper, then adds some spice and salad shrimp. Pour it over a crispy fillet of fish and you have a wonderful low-fat delicious dish, easy enough for every day, good enough for company
The making of Snapper with Shrimp Creole Sauce
BB loves those little salad shrimps on salads. He also loves to over-buy when I send him to the grocery store. If I tell him I need one lemon, he'll come home with three. So when I make my recipe for Butter Leaf Lettuce with Shrimp and Fresh Herb Dressing and send him to the store for a quarter-pound of salad shrimp, he'll come home with ¾ pound instead - leaving me to find new ways to use the left-over pre-cooked shrimp. This recipe for Snapper with Shrimp Creole Sauce is one of my solutions for excess shrimp, although I think it is totally fresh-bought pre-cooked shrimp-worthy.
INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Fish - Snapper, Rock Cod, or another thin white fish such as tilapia. Make sure you remove any bones with a pair of tweezers or fish pliers. Needle nose pliers work well, just be sure you are ONLY using them in the kitchen and not grabbing the ones from the garage.
- The Cajun Trinity - Onion, celery, and green bell pepper. While you could use yellow, red, or orange peppers, green bell peppers are traditional.
- Garlic - Just a clove or two.
- Salad Shrimp - Found frozen at most fish counters, or in the frozen food section of your supermarket. You could use fresh small (21/25) shrimp and par-cook them. To par-cook, bring some salted water to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Or cut larger shrimp into smaller pieces.
- Tomatoes - Fresh or Canned Diced Tomatoes in Juice - If using canned, I like to chop these in my mini-processor so the pieces are fairly small, not big cubes. If using fresh, peel and dice. Seed if desired.
- Chicken Broth - Homemade or low-sodium, please. When I do buy chicken broth I try to get one with the LEAST amount of aromatic added to it.
- Fresh or dried Herbs - Thyme and oregano.
- Spices - Worchestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and Slap Ya Mama Cajun season mix. Slap Ya Mama seasoning mix is a combination of salt, red pepper (cayenne), black pepper, and garlic powder.
- Flour and Cornmeal - For dredging the fish. You could use either/or if desired. Or even some fine bread crumb.
WHAT IS THE CAJUN TRINITY?
Many (most) cuisines have their own trinity of vegetables to start a dish, often called a mirepoix. A mirepoix is simple a combination of generally three ingredients that add the flavor essence of the cuisine. For the French, it's onion, carrot, and celery. For Spain, it's called a sofrito which is a combination of onions, garlic, and tomato. This recipe starts with the Creole trinity, chopped onion, green bell pepper, and celery. The peppers must be green to add the true flavor for a Creole dish. Red, yellow, and orange peppers are lovely peppers but are just too sweet to get the true Creole flavor.
SNAPPER WITH SHRIMP CREOLE SAUCE IS QUICK AND EASY
After a quick sauté of the vegetables, add some fresh chopped tomato if it's summer and you can get some nice fresh tomato. I grow them every summer in my garden. If you don't have a garden or fresh tomatoes, (or it's in the middle of winter) canned work perfectly well. If you do use canned diced tomatoes, chop them up a little more finely than what comes in the can. You want the tomato to melt into the sauce. Then add a bit of fresh or dried thyme and oregano, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper to give it a kick, and some chicken stock to make it saucy. Once these have cooked for a few minutes, about 5 - 7, add the shrimp and just stir them gently around to get them hot and well coated in sauce. They are already cooked, they are small, it doesn't take long.
I used snapper (sometimes called rock cod) in this dish, but you could use another white fish in its place. Whatever you use, make sure the bones are all removed, nothing worse than taking a bite of fish and getting a mouthful of bones that you have to gracefully extract. The combination of cornmeal (I used coarse cornmeal) and flour give the fish a nice coating and crunch. You may notice I didn't use salt on the fish as the Slap Ya Mama seasoning mix has plenty. If you find the cornmeal/flour mix is not adhering well to your filet, try spraying the seasoned filet with a little non-stick cooking spray to help it stick.
Snapper doesn't take long to cook as the filets are generally less than a half-inch thick, so it's important that your pan and oil are hot so the coating gets crisp by the time the fish is cooked, not soggy. Soggy coating is not good.
I served this with some brown rice and steamed fresh broccoli, although the broccoli missed the photoshoot.
Snapper with Shrimp Creole Sauce
- For the Shrimp Creole Sauce
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup diced or thinly sliced celery with some leaves if possible
- ½ cup diced green peppers green peppers are key to the Creole Trinity
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic about 4 cloves
- ¾ cup diced tomato fresh or canned
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
- 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce this is a technical term dash, so just dash, not pour
- 1 - 2 dashes of cayenne pepper to your spice level
- 1 cup low-sodium or homemade chicken stock or as needed
- ½ pound cooked "salad" shrimp or small shrimp or cut up larger shrimps, deveined and shells removed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the Fish
- 4 red snapper rockfish filets, or other thin white fish, remove any bones
- 1 - 2 tablespoons Slap ya Mama seasoning*
- ½ cup each flour and cornmeal mixed together in a shallow bowl
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil for frying
- Freshly chopped parsley for serving, if desired
- Prepare the Creole Sauce: In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat; add the onion, celery, and peppers; cook, stirring until they have just wilted and given up some of their juice, then add the garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Stir in the thyme, oregano, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, then add the Worcestershire sauce, cayenne,, and chicken stock. Stir well and cook for about 5 minutes, adding more stock if the sauce seems to dry. Stir in the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are hot and well coated in sauce. Set-aside.
- Prepare the Fish: Season the fish with the Slap ya Mama seasoning mix on both sides, then dredge in the flour/cornmeal mixture until lightly coated (I used a little cooking spray on the filet to help the coating stick).
- Heat the oil in a large skillet; when hot, add the filets in a single layer, cook until browned on one side, about 3 - 4 minutes, then turn and brown the other side also 3 - 4 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the pan and plate; top with the shrimp Creole sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired.