Poverty Point Catfish
Yield - 8 Servings
8, 5-7 OZ CATFISH FILETS
1 TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
1/2 TSP GUMBO FILÉ
3 TOES FRESH GARLIC (Crushed & Minced)
4 SPRIGS FRESH THYME
1 BUNCH MUSTARD GREENS
1 BUNCH SHALLOTS
2 CUPS CORN (FRESH CUT FROM HUSK)
6 TOES GARLIC (WHOLE)
2 WHOLE BAY LEAF
2 CUPS HEAVY CREAM
1/2 LB CRAWFISH TAIL MEAT
Dust catfish filets with seasoning mix. Choose only the large whole mustard leafs and remove the fibrous bottom stalks, wash mustard green leafs in cold water but do not dry. Carefully wrap the catfish filets in the mustard green leafs. Fold the leafs tightly around the filets, next use the shallots as twine, tie and secure the mustard wrapped filets into small bundles.
Select a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid (a pressure cooker can be substituted). Arrange the filets in the skillet, add corn and bay leaf. Over medium heat, cook the filets covered for about 15 minutes, do not remove the lid during cooking, as this would allow the steam to escape.
Remove the filet bundles, dry saute the remaining ingredients, allowing the corn to slightly brown and roast. Add heavy cream and crawfish, reduce sauce by one third. The cream will deglaze the pan an lift the residual fish and mustard flavors from the bottom of the skillet.
Arrange wrapped filets in a heated earthen platter and ladle corn/crawfish sauce on top of filets.
Poverty Point is an ancient Indian community (carbon 14 dated 1500BC - 750BC) located near Epps, Louisiana. The Indians made clay balls into various shapes, then baked the balls in fires and used the balls as heated stones to bake their food. Archeologist have theorized that the food was first wrapped in large green leafs then placed in mats made from palmetto plants. This wrapping would protect the food from dirt and ash. The technique would provide for even cooking while keeping the food very moist and succulent.
We know that the probable descendants of the Poverty Point Indians, the
Choctaws, heavily used seasonings of ground sassafras (gumbo filé), laurel (bay leaf) and
other Louisiana grown seasonings in their cooking. The above recipe uses ingredients
(except heavy cream and the cooking utensils) that were available to the Poverty Point
Indians and thus inspired this recipe.
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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address: ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
Copyright © 1995 Aurora Catering, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 27, 2009.