• Tommy Centola

Assembling something special for Father's Day

For my Mother’s Day article, I assembled a menu that I would be proud to cook for my mother. Since Father’s day is approaching, I thought let’s do the same thing. So, I looked through the two cookbooks I have written and put together this meal.

Cooking for my dad would be a real treat. He passed away when I was eleven, so I never really had the opportunity to cook for him. Being that young, I really don’t remember the foods he liked to eat. Also the fact that he was born and raised in Boston, made this a little more difficult. I reached out to my oldest brother to see what types of food my dad liked. No particular dishes came to mind but he did adapt to the recipes and ingredients of New Orleans. So if he were around today, I would prepare the following two dishes: Crawfish Bread and Redfish Courtbouillon.

What a better way to kick off a dinner for my Northern born father than with a bayou delight. This crawfish bread recipe was developed for my second cookbook. I know that my dad would enjoy this combination of Louisiana crawfish and New Orleans French bread. It’s a great way to start any meal.

Crawfish Bread

1 pound crawfish tails, deveined

1/2 stick butter

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 cup ripe tomatoes, chopped and drained

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded

1/4 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 loaf French bread

Preheat oven to 350 ℉.

Rinse the crawfish tails. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook a few minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, Creole seasoning and crawfish. Sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix together the cheeses, mayonnaise and parsley. Add the tomato and crawfish mixture to the mayonnaise mixture.

Cut the loaf of bread in half, cut the bread lengthwise. Spoon the mixture on the bread, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Watch closely, so it does not burn. Cut the bread into individual portions. Serve immediately.

My father-in-law was known for cooking this dish. So to bring the two fathers together, I felt that this would be a great dish to serve my dad. This stew was a great way to stretch a budget, while appearing as an elegant dish. Catfish makes a great substitute for the redfish in this dish.

Redfish Courtbouillon

2 1/2 pounds redfish fillets, cut into chunks 2-3 inches wide

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter

2 teaspoons green onions, chopped

2 cups onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 large can tomatoes, drained reserving the liquid

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups seafood stock

Hot cooked rice

In a heavy pot on medium-low, heat butter. Add flour and cook for 10 minutes or golden brown, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and stir in the onions, celery and bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and cook five minute. Stir in dry seasonings, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Slowly stir in one cup of the reserved tomato liquid and stock. Simmer for five minutes. Add redfish and adjust seasonings. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Serve over hot rice.

It would have been a pleasure to cook these dishes for my dad. I know he would have enjoyed them. Don’t wait for a special occasion to cook a meal for someone. They will enjoy it any day of the week. Happy Father’s Day!

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