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YIELDS:

4 servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 10 mins

COOK TIME:

0 hours 30 mins

TOTAL TIME:

0 hours 40 mins

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ingredients

FISH

4 Six Oz. tilapia filets (Flounder, walleye and grouper all work)

3 Tbsp. Creole Seasoning

½ Tsp. Sugar

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Lemon cut into wedges for serving (optional)

RICE

¼ Tsp. Cayenne pepper

1 Tsp. Kosher salt

½ Tsp. Freshly ground black pepper

½ Tsp. Paprika

½ Tsp. Cumin

¼ Tsp. Dried Thyme

¼ Tsp. Dried Oregano

½ Tsp. Dried mustard

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Sweet or hot Italian sausage, removed from casing and crumbled into pieces

1 Bay leaf

¼ Cup onion, chopped

¼ Cup celery, chopped

¼ Cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 Garlic clove, finely minced

2 Cups Chicken stock

1 Cup Basmati rice

½ Cup frozen corn

½ Cup frozen peas

TARTER SAUCE

¼ Cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish

½ lemon, juiced

1 Tbsp. capers

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix all the dry seasoning ingredients for the rice in a small bowl.

2. Mix all the tarter sauce ingredients in another small bowl and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

3. Make the Rice: In a large skillet add one tablespoon of butter and the crumbled sausage and bay leaf. Cook stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon until meat is cooked. About 3-5 minutes.

4. Add all the rice seasoning and the chopped onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables start to soften (about two minutes). Add the chopped garlic and stir for about one minute.

5. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir rice into the mixture. Cover the skillet and turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes until the rice absorbs all the liquid.

6. Remove from the heat and keep covered for another 10 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, is a separate pot filled with simmering water, add the corn and peas and cook for two minutes. Drain and add the veggies to the rice mixture along with the last tablespoon of butter.  (You can also microwave the veggies with water for 2 minutes.) Stir the veggies and butter into the rice.  Cover the rice to keep warm while you prepare the fish.

8. Mix the creole seasoning and sugar in a small bowl. In a separate skillet melt the oil and butter. Sprinkle the fish with the creole seasoning mix on both sides. When the hot is very hot but not smoking, add the fish and cook on each side for about a minute.

9. Lightly drain the fish on paper towels to remove any excess oil.

10. Add a scoop of rice on the plate and lay the fish on top. Put dots of the tarter sauce around the plate and add a wedge of lemon. Enjoy.

NOTE: I started making this recipe after a trip to New Orleans years ago. I had this fabulous spicy fish served over “dirty rice” and couldn’t wait to try making it at home. I also made lots of Hurricane cocktails using the famous drink mix I bought at Pat O’Briens pub.  When in New Orleans, a Hurricane at that pub is a must and everyone will send you there to get one…or two!!!  I had several of Pat O’Brien’s souvenir glasses from that trip, along with pouches of the mix in my suitcase. That was such a fun trip and the food was amazing. There is a lot of spice and lots of seafood on the gulf and there were lots of different spicy rice dishes to go with them. So, when I got home, I started to play.  This dish was the result of that trip and tons of trials and errors.

I adapted this recipe to my liking playing with the spices until it was just right for my pallet. As you know from previous recipes, I’ve been told I’m a wimp when it comes to heat, so feel free to add more. You can up the spice level by increasing the amount of cayenne and you can use spicy sausage rather than sweet. (Note, I’ve also used turkey sausage in this and it comes out great.) While there are lots of ingredients in the spice mixture, it isn’t hard to make. If you whip up a batch of the seasoning ahead of time, this comes together pretty fast and is just packed with flavor

When I first got this recipe it called for Grouper…a fish I’ve always had a hard time finding so I used Walleye since I was living in the Midwest at the time. Over the years, I’ve made it with flounder on the East Coast and now regularly with Tilapia here on the West Coast. Any firm, white fish filet would work in this dish.

I also add some homemade tarter sauce on the side along with lemon. I really liked the cool, slightly sweet and tart flavors and how they mix with the spicy richness of the dish. I think it adds the perfect balance but feel free to omit it if you like.

Now, I would definitely serve this with one of the famous Pat O’Brien Hurricane drinks and get that whole New Orleans Jazz “thing” going on. Grab my interpretation of that recipe here: New Orleans Hurricanes Or you can buy Pat O’Brien’s mix online and add rum. Don’t forget to serve your drinks in traditional hurricane glasses, with a straw, umbrella and a cherry to boot. Enjoy.

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