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Spicy Red Drum Stew

1.5 large red bell peppers
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 shallots, chopped
2 14 ounce cans chopped tomatoes in juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 lb red fish (drum) fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

Char bell peppers over flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose peppers in paper bag 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop peppers. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until very soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in peppers, tomatoes with juice, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in cilantro and lemon peel. Add fish; simmer until just opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Season stew to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve.

Blackened Drum

1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 stick butter, melted (may need more!)
1 lb boneless red drum fillets

Combine paprika, salt, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, black and white pepper, thyme, and oregano in a small bowl and set aside. Put melted butter into a wide, shallow dish. Dip each filet in butter and place on a parchment paper–lined sheet tray. Dust each filet generously on both sides with spice mixture, pressing spices and herbs into fish with your hands. Pour any remaining butter into a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 200°. Turn on ventilation system and open windows. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until white and ashy, 8–10 minutes. Carefully place filets in pan. Stand back to avoid smoke and pour 1 tsp. of the remaining butter over each filet. Cook until bottom of each filet appears charred, about 2 minutes. Turn filets over and pour 1 tsp. butter over each. Continue cooking until fish is cooked through (time will vary according to heat of pan). Transfer to a sheet tray on a rack and keep warm in oven. Repeat cooking process with remaining fish and butter. Serve with reserved warm melted butter.

Andrea Ruesing’s Pan-Roasted Drum 

From “Cooking in the Moment”

1 lb drum fillet, skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon expeller-pressed vegetable oil
3 fresh bay leaves, or another hearty herb like winter savory or a few sturdy sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Leave the fillet whole and score it lengthwise on the skin side with a shallow 3-4 inch long slit to minimize curling. Season it generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil, coating the pan. Lay the fish in the pan, skin side down, and cook it for about 3 minutes or until it is golden brown and releases easily with a spatula. Flip the fish, and tuck 2 of the bay leaves underneath and place the other one on top. Dot the top of the fillet with the butter, and after it melts, tilt the pan and use a spoon to baste the fish a few times with the fat and juices.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for about 4 minutes, until the fish is just done and the tip of a sharp knife left in the middle of the thickest part for a few seconds comes out warm to the touch. Transfer the fish to a warm platter, removing and discarding the bay leaves.

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