Blackened Red Snapper With Pontchartrain Sauce

Winter 2016

Executive chef Michael Conner of the Hills of Lakeway in Austin, Texas, kicks up blackened snapper a notch by lavishing it with his decadent Pontchartrain sauce, a twist on the classic.

8 tablespoons paprika
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspooons salt
6 snapper fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
nonstick spray
Pontchartrain Sauce (recipe follows)

For the blackened seasoning, combine all spices in a bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon for the Ponchartrain Sauce. Rub seasoning over both sides of the fillets and let them rest for 5 minutes. Preheat your grill to high. Spray fillets on both sides with the nonstick spray. Cook on each side for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness.

Yield: 6 servings

PONTCHARTRAIN SAUCE

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup yellow onion, small dice
1/2 cup red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 cup celery, small dice
2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon blackened seasoning
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup clam juice
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup crabmeat, cleaned
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup green onions, diced

In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Then add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Saute until the edges start to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Then add blackened seasoning, wine, and clam juice. On medium heat, reduce sauce down to two-thirds.

Add heavy cream, stirring constantly, and reduce by half. Add shrimp. When shrimp turns pink, add crab. Reduce to a simmer, remove from heat, and swirl in butter one tablespoon at a time.

Stir in green onions and serve over blackened fillets.

CHEF’S TIP:  “Make your own blackened seasoning from scratch. Most commercial choices have way too much sodium.”

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