Capt. Billy Trimble sent me this recipe to share with Way Upstream community. When I asked him about it's origins he wrote: "I do not follow exact recipes in my cooking. I'm inspired by available ingredients. I rarely adhere to a recipe book or measure any of the ingredients. For this dish you can use any light fish such as snapper, drum, striped bass or flounder. The Veracruz Sauce is a traditional Mexican Gulf Coast sauce (contains onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, olives and capers). Using the shrimp carcasses to flavor the stock for the sauce is something I do in most of my cooking and I like to use wine as a base fluid. If you are looking for a reference, one of the best cookbooks for this recipe and many other fish recipes is Gulf Coast Cooking by Virginia Elverson. It's a must have if you enjoy cooking with fresh fish."
Seared Redfish Fillets in Veracruz Sauce
Lightly bread redfish fillets and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Always allow the fish fillets at least a half an hour to rest after you bread them so the flour sets to the fish. Do not coat shrimp.
Breading recipe: 1 cup of flour, liberal amount of coarse ground black pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper.
White wine stock: White wine (an inexpensive chardonnay is fine), shrimp hulls and Thai lemon leaves. The stock is cooked separately and can be prepared in advance.
Sauté in light olive oil:
Onion, garlic, tomatoes, jalapeños or serrano peppers, green olives, capers, juice from 2 limes, sea salt, black pepper, a spoonful of chili powder*, rosemary and oregano. After all the ingredients are combined in the sauce bring it to a rapid simmer and let it cook for at least a half hour to break down the tomato. When it has cooked together add back strained white wine stock and simmer for another 30 minutes.
As sauce approaches ready, heat olive oil very hot and sear the redfish fillets until browned on each side. As the fillets are cooking add the cleaned shrimp to Veracruz sauce. Set browned fillets aside to cool a bit as the shrimp cook then plate with liberal amounts of sauce.
Billy's Chili Powder*
Two cups of chili arbol, 6 New Mexico chilies, 4 ancho chilies, 2 chipotle chilies (adjust number of chilies to size and desired taste)
Lightly coat dried chilies with olive oil mist and sauté in a hot skillet for a few minutes to lightly caramelize then set aside to cool. Place in blender and grind to a coarse powder. Makes about a pint of powder.
Use a lot of garlic, a full bulb is normal for this dish.
Aways use fresh ingredients and either jalapeno or serrano peppers are recommended.
Strong olive oil can be used to sauté the veggies giving the sauce a deeper flavor if preferred.
Bay leaf may also be used along with herbs of your choice.
You don’t really need a side with this dish but white rice or crispy french fries can be matched. A crusty bread can also serve to mop up the extra sauce.
For a wine pairing suggestion, the chef recommends a white, Tomero Torrontes 2007, Argentina is his current favorite.
Contribution and photos by Capt. Billy Trimble