Pecan Crusted Texas Redfish with Smoked Baby Shrimp and Oven Dried Tomatoes

(Texas Striped Bass, Grouper or Red Snapper all have a nice flaky and delicate flavor that work very well for this recipe if redfish isn’t available)

Cut the roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and cold smoke with pecan wood for 30 minutes, then place on a roasting rack. Place the roasting rack in a convection oven on the lowest possible setting such as warm or 150 degrees. Allow the tomatoes to dry for 2 1/2 hours. Mix the Creole seasonings with pecan halves and pulse in a food processor several times until the nuts only have a few large pieces left, then scatter the mix out on a large plate. Lay the clean and dry fish fillet down on top of the seasonings and press lightly to get the nuts to stick. Be sure to lay the pretty side (or what we in the industry call the presentation side) down in the nuts. They will end up facing up on the finished plate. In a medium-hot pan, drizzle a little olive oil in, then gently place the fish fillet inside, pecan side down. Gently shake the pan back and forth just a little to keep the fish from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Nonstick pans work exceptionally well for cooking fish. Cook on the first side for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, being careful not to let the nuts burn. If the pecans turn black and smoke, the dish must be started over using a cooler pan. Turn the fillet over gently, then continue cooking until the fish is done. If the fish is very thick, place the entire pan into a 375 degree oven (as long as its an oven safe pan) and finish cooking in the oven after flipping. Remove fillet from the pan and let rest on a warm plate while you make the sauce. Raise the pan to high heat then caramelize the julienned onions and poblanos. Add in the smoked shrimp and garlic and sauté for one minute, then add white wine. Allow the wine to reduce by a little more than half, then add the tomatoes and butter. Swirl the entire contents continually until the butter melts, season lightly with salt and pepper, squeeze in the lime juice, then pour over the fish fillet and serve immediately.

Chef’s Comments: Redfish is a true Texas treasure. It’s been popular with sportsmen for quite some time, but in recent years several very reputable aquafarms have begun to produce these fish near the Texas Gulf coast. The slightly firm texture, sweet & tender meat, and year-round availability make this fish one that I consistently serve all year long. I love adding just a little texture and complexity by coating one side with pecans.


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