Grandmother Toups’ Fish Couvillion

By Caroline Hatchett | Antoinette Bruno

By

Caroline Hatchett
Antoinette Bruno
Grandmother Toup’s Fish Couvillion, Crab Fat Rice, Jalapeño Vinegar, and Green Onions
Grandmother Toup’s Fish Couvillion, Crab Fat Rice, Jalapeño Vinegar, and Green Onions

“I’m full bore Cajun. My family has been in Louisiana for 300 years,” says Isaac Toups, owner of Toups’ Meatery in New Orleans and a current contender on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” In addition to the epic meat boards that give the restaurant its name, Toups specializes in the dishes he ate growing up in rural Rayne, Louisiana. One such dish is his Gulf seafood couvillion, the base of which is made of double concentrated fish stock and roux—just the way his grandmother taught him. 

For the couvillion, Toups makes a blonde roux, adds trinity and garlic, and then tomato purée. When the mixture is caramelized and emulsified, he adds wine and seafood stock, simmering it for an hour before poaching a mixture of shrimp and fish in the sauce. “If it doesn’t come from the Gulf, I don’t use it,” he says. Toups chefs-up the dish with crab roe fried rice, adding another layer of intense seafood flavor. But that’s as far as he strays from his grandmother’s original, a dish he serves with love, six nights a week, in New Orleans’ Mid-City.

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