Seafood Creole, New Orleans Style

Creole fish stew, close up
Philip Wilkins / Getty Images
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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New Orleans is like no other city in the world, and its identity is defined by its music—jazz, blues, and zydeco—along with its food—that addicting and spice-laden cuisine known as Cajun and Creole. If you've walked the French Quarter, these sounds and flavors are what you no doubt remember.

But even if you live hundreds of miles away from New Orleans or have never been there, you can bring the iconic taste of this city home with this recipe for seafood Creole, where Catfish and shrimp are quickly simmered in a spicy sauce of onion, garlic, celery, tomatoes, and seasonings, and then the whole deliciousness is served over rice.

As they say, "laisse less bonus temps ruler,"—let the good times roll!

What You'll Need

  • 3 tablespoons oil or bacon drippings
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 green onions with tops (chopped fine)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 ribs celery (chopped fine)
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) tomatoes
  • 1 large bay leaf (crumbled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, or to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound catfish fillets (cut crosswise into 1-inch strips)
  • 1/2 pound shrimp (shelled and cleaned)

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot.
  2. Add the flour to the hot oil and stir over medium heat until deep golden brown; be careful not to burn the flour.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, and celery and cook until the onions and celery are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, thyme, pepper, and Tabasco sauce.
  5. Simmer the mixture uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  1. Add the fish and shrimp; cover and simmer about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the shrimp and fish are flaky and done but not overcooked.
  2. Serve over hot cooked white rice.

Serving Suggestions and Variation

For an authentic New Orleans meal, serve seafood Creole with russet or sweet potato wedges and chili mayonnaise, Creole-seasoned green beans or broccoli, black-eyed peas and/or cornbread. If you're serving this dish for a party or Mardi Gras, make a buffet of specialties like shrimp or crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, dirty rice, red beans and rice with andouille sausage or ham, chicken-andouille gumbo, and stuffed catfish. For dessert, New Orleans beignets and strong coffee or espresso. For drinks, a classic Sazerac or a Hurricane. 

If you would like to eliminate the catfish, you can make a shrimp Creole. And for a busy weeknight, you can pull a make-ahead shrimp Creole from the freezer for a quick and delicious meal.