In the beginning of the pandemic during the lockdown I was constantly cooking to pass the time.  I found this recipe while reading a New York Times article about “What To Do If You Miss New Orleans During The Pandemic”.  In the article they featured a cookbook written by the proprietor of The Mosquito Supper Club…Melissa Martin.  I bought the book…it is the equivalent of a “down home southern cookbook” only Cajun style.  The Redfish Courtbouillon is my favorite recipe from her book (so far) and I endeavor to eat at Melissa’s restaurant in the Garden District very soon (I hope).  A couple of deviations I made from the recipe…I used crushed peeled tomatoes instead of starting from scratch.  I also marinated the fish in hot sauce for several hours.  Careful with the marinade…if you don’t like a lot of heat take it easy on the amount of hot sauce and the length of the marinating.

 In Louisiana, the term courtbouillon (“koy-boo-yon”) is used to describe a fish dish smothered in tomatoes. It is made using almost the same method as an etouffee and can be made with or without a roux. It can be served as a thick stew of tomatoes or a slightly thinner version. You can use any fish, but “down the bayou” they use only redfish.



6 tablespoons (% stick/85 g) unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (50 g) all-purpose flour

2 pounds (910 g) yellow onions, finely diced

1/4 cup (30 g) finely diced celery

1/4 cup (35 g) finely diced green bell pepper

2 1/2 pounds (1.2 kg) ripe tomatoes, cored

4 garlic cloves, finely diced

3 bay leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

4 cups fish stock

2 pounds (910 g) redfish, black drum, or any white fish, cut into large cubes, skinless or skin on

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, plus more as needed

Cooked rice for serving

1/4 cup (13 gl finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1/4 up (20 g) finely chopped green onions, for garnish

 Serves 6 TO 8



Warm a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat for 3 minutes, then add the butter. When it has melted, add the flour and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the roux is the color of condensed milk, about 15 minutes. Add the onions and stir them into the roux. (Be careful to avoid splattering the roux when adding the onions-this is when folks sometimes burn themselves.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the celery and bell pepper and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let the vegetables smother together until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and black pepper and stir. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover, and smother, lifting the lid occasionally to stir, until the tomatoes have broken down, about 2 hours. Add the stock and stir. Raise the heat to medium to bring the stock to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Season the fish with the cayenne, the hot sauce, and salt and black pepper and add it to the sauce. Raise the heat to medium to bring the sauce to a simmer (don’t let it come to a rolling boil), then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the fish courtbouillon over rice, garnished with the parsley and green onions. ‘