Friday, March 4, 2011

Red Snapper Duarte ala Arnaud's Restaurant Cookbook

OK, I am a week behind on my goal of a fish course a week during 2011.  But I am making up for it with a very complicated recipe.  Complicated, but AMAZING!    These tomatoes may be the best thing I have eaten this week, simply amazing,

Hey did you all know Fat Tuesday is coming up next week.  Cajun dishes should be flowing (I'll be having my annual neighborhood Jambalaya feed on Tuesday (everyone welcome, come on over).  It's been awhile since i talked New Orleans.  I've posted a couple of times about how much I enjoy eating at Arnaud's; just a classic Creole Cuisine, with so much history.

The have a wonderful cookbook, just filled with amazing dishes, as well as the history of the restaurant.  It really is an amazing book, highly recommended.

This recipe comes about 90% from that book.  They use Pompano fillets instead of Red Snapper.  Being land locked as Kansas is, I was very happy to find some nice fresh red snapper.  No pompano in sight.  Also, they serve a side dish of tomatoes in a beurre blanc sauce.  Their sauce uses heavy cream.  I was out (plus, you will be shocked at how much butter is in this meal, so I tried to lighten the meal up a bit).  So, I substituted Greek yogurt in place of the cream.  But like I said, that substitute was a drop in the bucket when all this butter was examined.

Oh, and you all remember yesterday's Sweet Potato Mousse???  In my comments, I was praised for the health benefits... Well, not with all this butter... 

But I am ahead of myself, BTW... totally worth it.  Not saying this is an everyday meal.  Far from it.  It is complicated to make (3 different butter sauces), but incredibly tasty.  i made this for just Jackie and myself.  next time I have a fancy dancy dinner party for 6, this will be on the menu.  just as much work, may as well show off.

Here's what I did...

1/4 cup Clarified Butter (recipe to follow)
2 - 6 ounce Red Snapper Fillets
1/2 cup Herbsaint Garlic Butter (Oh my, this is amazing recipe to follow)
1/2 pound medium size shrimp, peeled deveined and tails removed
2 TBS "Not your Grandmother's herbes de Provence" (my recipe, they used oregano, thyme and basil)
pinch of red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
1 cup canned peeled and diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup Beurre Blanc sauce (recipe to follow

OK, here's how to make clarified butter -
It's actually very easy.  Clarified butter is simply butter with the solids removed.  Without the solids, the butter can withstand much higher heat.  In a small sauce pan, melt a stick of butter over low heat until it is completely melted.  remove from the heat and allow it to cool.  On top will be a few floating bits of solids, spoon those out (I dumped that on the shrimp... don't want to waste any of the flavor).  The remaining solids sink to the bottom.  The almost clear yellow liquid in the middle is the clarified butter.  Just carefully pour only that part into a dish and save for later (and dump the rest of the solids on the shrimp!).

And here is how to make Beurre Blanc Sauce -
1/4 cup white wine
1 TBS shallots finely minced
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (or heavy cream)
1 stick of butter
1 TBS Lemon Juice
place wine, shallots and yogurt in sauce pan and reduce over low heat by 1/4.  OK, I went off book for this.  I have found that when you are trying to emulsify, it is just easier and you always get consistent results if you do it in a blender... I moved the cooked sauce into the blender and added the butter just 1 tbs at a time while the blades are spinning... works like a charm!  Finally add the lemon juice and you have a beurre blanc sauce!

And here is how to make an absolutely AMAZING Herbsaint Garlic Butter.  
If you didn't know, herbsaint has an anise (got to be careful how you spell and pronounce that word) flavor.  Similar to Sambuca or black licorice. 
1 stick room temperature softened  butter
1/3 cup sliced green onions (including the green parts)
2 TBS Herbsaint 
4 cloves minced garlic
kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place everything in a bowl and whisk!

OK, once you have all this prep work done, you are finally ready to cook...

You are cooking in stages, so set the oven on warm and put your serving plates in to warm, as well as a couple of plates to hold your items as they cook...

Pour the clarified butter into a large saute pan.  it should cover the bottom by an 8th of an inch. heat over high heat and add the fish fillets without crowding them and watch them sizzle.  It is a beautiful thing in clarified butter, no burning, almost like frying in oil.  Saute for 2-3 minutes on each side until you feel they are done.  DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM.  they should flake.

When done, move them to the warming plates in the oven.  In the same pan, pour out the clarified butter and add the Herbsaint Garlic Butter.  Melt that and then add the shrimp.  Cook until all the pink is gone, but again, do not over cook.

Move those to the warming plates.  Pour out that butter and add the Beurre Blanc sauce.  Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat for a couple minutes until everything is hot.  I did add some leftover green onions to the mix.  Not in the recipe, but certainly did not hurt.

And plate.  I did add the sweet potatoes.

Totally worth all the effort (on a special occasion).

Here's a few photos to give you a better idea about what I did...



  1. Haha well at least you made up for the butter with the sweet potatoes! Seems like a pretty balanced meal. Some fat, vitamin A and a whole lotta deliciousness!

  2. Wow, you've really outdone yourself on this one, cher! Gorgeous presentation and I can only imagine how fabulous it tastes. And that sauce is over the top! Happy Mardi Gras! Wish you were here!

  3. This is an amazing recipe! Such detail to follow but like you said it is worth it. It is nice to eat fancy every now and again. I have never heard of herbsaint and I do love sambuca, so I will have to give this one a try. And to put it in a garlic butter sauce- oh yeah!! Thanks for sharing all the steps.

  4. That looks delicious Dave - definitely a show stopper! :D

    Hope you and Jackie are having a great weekend! :D

  5. This looks delicious and your presentation is perfection. Restaurant quality! :)

    I wanted to thank you for the link to the pasta with sweet potatoes, arugula and feta. It sounds delicious. I love sweet potatoes, but my husband can't stand them... so I might have to wait to make this for myself sometime when he's not around, or if I cook for friends. But it's definitely bookmarked! I hope you are well.

  6. This is such a delicious looking meal...You are missing your calling...Blessings, Catherine

  7. Wow, that does look amazing. When you break it down at the beginning, with the sauces first, it makes it a more manageable recipe for sure. I agree - you ought to make this for a dinner party! It looks amazing!