Today’s recipe is more about the sauce than the actual fish. It’s the sauce that makes this dish so appealing to many of us. There are numerous names for it with the most frequent being Alexander’s Sauce. Depending on the chef or the restaurant, the name changes from place to place and more times than not, it appears on a menu without a name whatsoever. I’ve seen it called Pappadeaux`s Sauce, Fish Alexander, LA (lower Alabama) Sauce to name a few, but my favorite name is the one I have giggled about for many years. Eating in a small dive on the waters of Bon Secour, across the bay from Mobile, I had a delectable broiled fish fillet covered with this sauce, or a second cousin, and have yearned for it many times. Finally, I sought to make it myself and to keep the name intact too. You see, it gets the name from the movie, Forrest Gump, which was written by a local and features much of Alabama namely Bayou la Batre (towards the end) which I have written about many times. To some of you the name might spark the image of our good ol’ boys sitting around and that’s okay too. I have seen this sauce made with clams, oysters and crayfish, but this is how we do it down here. Enjoy!
Pan Broiled Fillets with Bubba Sauce
For the sauce:
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rich fish stock or clam juice
2 cups heavy whipping cream (35%)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 cups small cooked shrimp (or 8 oz cooked small salad shrimp)
1/2 cup lump crabmeat, picked of shells (or 5 oz canned lump crabmeat)
Chives for garnishment
For the fish:
4 -8 to 10 oz red snapper, black drum, grouper or other firm, white-fleshed fillets
3 ounces lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon, cayenne pepper and salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper
1 stick unsalted butter (1 stick)
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the fish stock, cream and cook whisking until thickened. Add the salt, cayenne and pepper. Stir in the shrimp and crabmeat and simmer a couple of minutes until seafood is hot. Remove from heat and keep warm.
In a wide bowl, combine flour paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Brush each fillet with the lemon juice and coat evenly with the four mixture. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the fillets and cook until golden brown on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove each fillet to a warm serving dish and cover with the Bubba Sauce. Garnish with chives if desired.