Delicious Creole Combination
By Andrew Zimmern
In this episode of Wild Game Kitchen, I’ll teach you how to break down a whole halibut before and poach the filets in a creole-style tomato roux. I’m serving it with a classic version of dirty rice, filled with vegetables, herbs and chicken livers, cooked directly in the coals.
Creole Halibut with Dirty Rice
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 smashed garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups fish or shellfish stock
- 1 pound lump crab meat
- 3 pounds trimmed halibut, cut into 6-ounce portions
- 2 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 ribs celery, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 poblano pepper, diced
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced
- 1 cup chicken livers, minced fine or pulsed in a food processor
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain Louisiana rice
- 3 1/2 cups rich chicken broth
- 2 scallions, chopped for garnish
First make the tomato roux. In a large cast iron pot set over medium indirect heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk constantly until you have a light brown roux. Once the roux is ready, add the tomato paste. Stir that in and let it begin to caramelize. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until it starts sticking to the bottom and browns a little. I smash down the mixture evenly across the bottom of the pot to increase the surface area that is caramelized by the heat. This results in a dark brick red roux with a charred tomato flavor.
When that roux is ready, add the bay leaf, cayenne, thyme, celery and onion. Stir until onions are cooked through and glassy, about 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape up the bottom of the pot.
Next, add garlic, Worcestershire, wine and fish stock. Stir well, scraping up the bottom of the pot once again. Simmer for about 45 minutes, uncovered, very slowly until a nice rich sauce consistency is reached. Season with salt.
Meanwhile, start the dirty rice. In a large skillet or dutch oven placed over medium direct heat, add the bacon and cook until it’s rendered and beginning to brown. Add the onions, celery, red pepper, Cajun seasoning, poblano pepper, serrano pepper and livers. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are glassy. Stir in the rice and cook for a couple minutes to lightly toast. Add the broth, and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and place directly in the fire pit over medium-low coals. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Once your sauce has cooked for about 45 minutes and is thickened, stir in the lump crab. Push the fish filets into the sauce. Bring to a bare simmer, then move the pot to the floor of the fire to rest and cook the fish with the ambient heat of about 200 degrees. Allow to sit and “steep” the fish for about 10 minutes.
Serve in a bowl, with rice on one side and the fish with plenty of the sauce on the other. Garnish with scallions.