Gulf Seafood Couvillion

Contributed by: Chef Isaac Toups

Gulf Seafood Couvillion

Recipe type: Yield: 6-10 Prep time: Cook time: Total time:

A satisfying seafood dish from the Toups family.


6 T                           Unsalted butter – divided

1/2                          Yellow onion – medium, finely diced

1                              Red bell pepper – small, finely diced

1                              Celery rib – large, finely diced

1 t                            Kosher salt

2                               Bay leaf

7                               Garlic clove – minced

3 T                             All-purpose flour

1/2 C                         Tomato paste

1/4 C                        White wine – dry

6 C                            Fish, crab or shrimp stock

1 t                             Thyme – fresh, picked and minced

1/2 t                         Smoked paprika

1/2 t                         Cayenne pepper

1/2 t                         White pepper – ground

3 to 4 lbs                   Mixed seafood (*see note in instructions)

                                  Jasmine rice or any medium-grain white rice – for serving


  1. *Note: Chef allows 6 to 8 ounces of seafood per person, in any combination of fish, peeled shrimp, and crabmeat. He prefers flaky white fish like speckled trout or redfish, either whole filets or filets cut into 2-inch slices. (Or you can do like Maw Maw Toups and put a whole gutted and scaled fish in.) The crab will break apart to thicken and season the stew, so don’t splurge on jumbo lump; backfin or claw meat will work fine. Do pick through the crabmeat to remove any bits of shell. (Chef dips his fingers in a cup of water as he picks through the crab. The bits of shell sink to the bottom when you dip, so you don’t flick it back into the crab.) For shrimp, go with peeled and deveined extra jumbo 16/20s (that is, 16 to 20 per pound). Ratio-wise, Chef tends to do equal parts by weight of fish and shrimp and go lighter on the crab because it’s expensive.
  4. › In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until it quits bubbling. Add the trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery), salt, and bay leaves, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for 1 more minute. Remove
  5. the vegetables from the pan and reserve. Make sure you get all the vegetables out, but there’s no need to wipe or clean the pan. There’s still a lot of flavor in the fat that’s left over.
  7. › In the same Dutch oven over medium heat, make a brick roux (*recipe below), using the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and the flour and adding the tomato paste once the roux hits blonde. When the tomato paste begins to brown, add the vegetables back to the pot and stir.
  9. › Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon until all the brown bits have come up. Add the stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring until fully incorporated after each addition. Add the thyme, paprika, cayenne, and white pepper, and stir.
  11. › Bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium heat and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.
  13. › Add the seafood and cook for 15 minutes, until the fish breaks apart easily. (If you are using a whole fish instead of fish filets, cook the fish for an hour, until it breaks
  14. down, and add the rest of the seafood 15 minutes before it is done.)
  16. › Adjust salt to taste and serve over Everyday Rice or Crab Fat Rice.
  21. Makes 3/4 cup
  23. Brick roux is blonde roux cooked with tomato paste. As soon as you have blonde roux, take the paste (or even tomato puree or tomatoes crushed by hand) and caramelize it with the roux.
  26. 4 T         Unsalted butter
  27. 3 T         All-purpose flour
  28. 1/2 C     Tomato paste
  31. In a Dutch oven or heavy skillet set over medium heat, make a blonde roux (*recipe below) with the butter and flour. Once the roux is ready, add the tomato paste. Stir that in and let it caramelize until it starts sticking to the bottom. Cook it until it browns a little. I smash down the tomato paste evenly across the bottom of the pot to increase the surface area that is caramelized by the heat. This should take about 10 minutes total, and results in a brick red roux with a charred tomato flavor.
  35. Makes 1/4 cup
  36. This is white roux that’s been cooked for a couple minutes. Blonde roux is made with butter and becomes a base for a béchamel sauce, white gravy, cream sauce, or any cheese sauce. Use it basically anytime you’re trying to thicken dairy. When I make a roux with butter, I typically deviate slightly from the 1:1 fat-to-flour ratio because the butter loses a little weight when water cooks out of it. In general, it’s okay to have a little more fat than flour in a roux.
  38. 4 T          Unsalted butter
  39. 3 T          All-purpose flour
  42. › In a Dutch oven or heavy skillet set over medium heat, heat the butter until it melts and then stops bubbling. Watch carefully; you don’t want it to brown. Once the butter’s melted, you’ll see sediment collect at the bottom of the pan. Those are the milk solids, and some people scoop them out—but you should taste them. They’re delicious. Don’t throw them away.
  44. › Once the butter stops bubbling, dump the flour in—no need to sprinkle it like it’s precious. Stir well to combine the butter and flour. Cook the roux a minute or two,
  45. stirring often, until it darkens by one shade and starts to smell nutty.

Published on by

Print Friendly, PDF & Email