When I’m cooking a classic Louisiana dish, I feel like I've taken a step back in time. It has something to do with the way the aroma of the dish fills my house.

Often, the scent is a throwback to my godparents’ home, where nearly 100 years of Sunday dinners have been cooked. Sometimes, it's the familiar smell of homes I’ve toured or dined in with friends and family.

On this Sunday afternoon, my home is filling with the aromas of a classic Louisiana dish, courtbouillon. It’s the perfect dish to complement a tender, white, flaky fish like the red snapper I picked up at the farmers market.

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Courtbouillon is an aromatic poaching sauce for fresh fish and seafood. This recipe is a mix of what I had on hand and a few old recipes scoured from my cookbook collection.

After I made this courtbouillon, I had to run an errand. When I got home, the aroma had me almost expecting to find a well-seasoned cook at my stove stirring a pot with a wooden spoon.

As a side dish, I cooked Brussels sprouts, which are still available locally, but quantities will be decreasing as the weather continues to warm. Grab some while you can. If you don't want to cook them now, you can blanch them and freeze them for later use.

In keeping with my cozy flavor cravings, these sprouts are warmed by a silky sweet and spicy glaze.

Red Snapper Courtbouillon

Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

1 stick (½ cup) butter

1 onion, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 can chopped tomatoes with juice

1 cup water

1 teaspoon oregano (1 tablespoon fresh)

1 teaspoon thyme (2 teaspoons fresh)

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup sherry

2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 red snapper fillets

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic. Saute until tender.

2. Sprinkle in flour and stir until thickened and a light blond color.

3. Stir in tomatoes and water.

4. Season with oregano, thyme, celery seed and sugar.

5. Reduce heat to simmer. Add sherry, lemon juice and Worcestershire. Stir in parsley, salt, black pepper and cayenne.

6. Gently place fillets in the sauce. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until the fish is firm, but flakey. Serve hot over rice.

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Chili Brussels Sprouts

Makes 4 servings. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 green onions (white parts only) finely chopped

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon cane or molasses syrup

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

½ teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon chili powder

Pepper to taste, optional

1. Rinse and pull off any loose or damaged leaves on the Brussels sprouts. Trim any stems and cut the sprouts in half.

2. Heat oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until tender.

3. Add the sprouts and stir-fry until they start to turn brown (6 to 7 minutes).

4. Whisk together the syrup, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and chili powder. Pour over the sprouts and stir-fry for a few more seconds until coated.

5. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.