Courtesy of Frank Davis.
- 9 Tbsp. unsalted butter, in all
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups onions, finely diced
- 1 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/2 bell pepper, finely diced
- 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 4 medium-size red potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 pints half-and-half cream
- 10.75 oz. can Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp Soup
- 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, with liquid
- 15 oz. can creamed corn
- 2 to 3 lbs. trimmed Louisiana redfish filets
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 3 tsp. Frank Davis seafood seasoning
- 1 tsp. salt, to taste
- 4 fresh small tomatoes, seeded and diced for garnish
- 3/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
- 1/2 cup parsley, minced for garnish as needed multigrain wheat saltines, or crackers of your choice
1.) Take a large 5 qt. Dutch oven, drop in 6 tsp. of butter, heat it over a medium flame until it fully melts (but don’t let it burn), and then, a little at a time, begin whisking in the all-purpose flour until it becomes velvety smooth. This is going to take a little while, so don’t go to rushing it! The trick is you don’t want the flour to brown at all. You want to make nothing but a white butter roux.
2.) When the roux smoothes, which should happen in about 5 minutes or so, add in the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms and potatoes. The introduction of the vegetables into the pot does two things—it softens the vegetables in the hot roux, and it reduces the temperature of the roux so that it cannot brown.
3.) Immediately after the vegetables and roux are thoroughly combined, it’s time to begin adding the ingredients that will make this dish a soup—the half-and-half, the cream of shrimp soup, the rotel tomatoes, and the creamed corn. Just pour these into the mix and begin incorporating everything into the roux.
4.) Once the cream base ingredients are added and combined, begin dropping in the fish filets a few at a time so that they can meld into the cream base and release their liquids into the stock.
5.) Finally, add in the bay leaf, reduce the fire to low, and simmer the dish until all the individual flavors marry (which should take about 45 to 50 minutes).
6.) Now note something here: first, plan to stir the mixture every 10 minutes or so to keep the cream base from sticking to the bottom of the pot and scorching. Second, don’t worry about breaking up the redfish—you’re supposed to break it up into flakes. Third, hold off on seasoning the soup until about the last 10 minutes of cooking time—the other ingredients may contain enough salt and pepper to suit your taste. Remember, the dish should be spicy, but it should never burn your lips and tongue.
7.) When you’re ready to eat, drop in the final 3 tsp. of butter and very gently fold it into the soup to give it sheen, ladle out the finished product into hearty, heated soup bowls, and garnish with a sprinkling of the diced tomatoes, the sliced green onions, and the minced parsley. All that’s left to finish off the presentation is a stack of buttered crackers and a glass of fine white wine.
Chef’s Note: Be sure all of the bloodline is trimmed off the redfish filets. Trimmed, the fish will give the soup a very delicate flavor; untrimmed, or carelessly trimmed, the soup will inherit an unpalatable fishy taste once cooking begins.
Be careful not to cook the soup “hard" once the half-and-half is added. Hard boiling will cause the milk and the cream to separate, curdling the cream base. My best advice is to barely simmer the soup at every step of the recipe. And it’s okay for you to use a little more or a little less half-and-half in the soup, depending upon taste and the thickness you desire.
While the recipe calls for 2 tsp. of my seafood seasoning plus another tsp. of salt, you may want to adjust the quantities according to your tastes. I’d recommend you start off by using half of that amount of seasoning, and increasing it as necessary.