Angling For Dinner: Louisiana's Catch And Cook Program

May 20, 2017
Originally published on May 20, 2017 3:11 pm

On this week’s show, we’re traveling from Lafitte bayous to French Quarter kitchens for a look at Louisiana’s Catch and Cook Program. Under Catch and Cook, charter fishing groups can bring their catch to a participating restaurant, where the chef will prepare their fresh-caught fish to order.


We begin by angling on the water with Dickie Brennan, Executive Chef Gus Martin, and Captain Theophile Bourgeouis. Theophile, a lifelong Louisiana fisherman, navigates the waters and leads us to a successful catch. Then, we follow our fish to the kitchen of Tableau, where Dickie Brennan’s team of chefs prepare the evening's dinner.

Next, we visit with Captain Lance Nacio, who shares his firsthand account of the impacts of land loss, oil spills, and storms on our coastline. Lance tells us the ways in which he’s confronting the many environmental setbacks that beset our Gulf fisherman.

 

Then, Lance Nacio and Darin Nesbit teach us about the potential of bycatch for the future of the fishing industry in Louisiana. Once known as “trash fish,” bycatch end up in shrimping nets by accident, but fishermen and restaurants alike are now cashing in and making one man's trash everyone's treasure. 

 

Finally, we spend some time at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, where the state’s most promising start-ups participate in the Big Idea Competition. We speak with three contestants, who also happen to be remarkable food producers.

 

For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.

 

Creole Sauce

Yields approximately 2 ½ cups

 

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 large Creole tomatoes, peeled, seeded & coarsely chopped OR 1 ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • Salt, pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce to taste

Combine oil and flour in a heavy saucepan. Cook until milk chocolate brown. Then stir in the onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until roux dark chocolate brown. Add celery and bell pepper, stirring together for another 3-5 minutes, until seasoning vegetables are soft. Add either fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer together for 20 minutes or longer. Add green onions and season with salt, pepper, cayenne and hot sauce. Cook an additional 5 minutes and serve.

 

Salt Baked Fish

  • One 3-4 lb. whole fish, gutted and scaled
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6 cups coarse Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil. Rinse the fish inside and out, then pat it dry with paper towel. Sprinkle any spices you’d like in the fish cavity along with herbs, citrus slices, and aromatic vegetables.

 

For a fish of 3-4 pounds, whisk together 2 large egg whites and ¼ cup of water. (Bigger fish? Just increase the egg whites and water.) Gently mix in 6 cups of coarse Kosher salt.

 

Spread 2 cups of the salt and egg white mixture on the baking pan in a rectangular strip about the same length and width as the fish. Lay the fish down on the salted bottom and generously spread the rest of the mixture on top, making sure the fish is completely covered on both sides and press down on the edges to be sure it’s sealed. Bake for 25 minutes, then rest on the counter, uncovered for 10 more minutes.

 

To serve, gently crack the shell and break it away brushing off the salt. The flesh will come away from the bones easily for serving. Salt baked fish can be served simply with a little olive oil and lemon juice or any sauce.

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