106 BAKED SHEEPSHEAD | Hooks, Lies & Alibis with Chef John Folse | LPB
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Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6 Servings

In many early cookbooks, there are references to Baked Sheepshead, which would lead one to believe that the cooks of the 1800s and early 1900s were preparing the saltwater fish that is so popular in the Gulf today. While early cooks were fans of saltwater sheepshead, it is more than likely that many used the freshwater sheepshead, too, the white-fleshed freshwater drum also known as Gaspergou or “goo” fish. Sheepshead was prized throughout Louisiana as the fish of choice for stews, soups and baking.

1 (6–8 pound) sheepshead or goo, dressed, cleaned and head-on
1 large onion, sliced into ¼-inch slices
6 whole green onions
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup flour
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
½ cup diced bell peppers
¼ cup minced garlic
3 cups diced red Creole tomatoes
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1 pound (70–90 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 quarts shellfish stock
1 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 tbsps minced basil
1 tsp minced thyme
½ cup sliced green onions
½ cup chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse fish well under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. In a large oval roaster, place sliced onions over bottom of pan and top with 6 whole green onions. Season fish well inside and out with salt, pepper and granulated garlic, rubbing seasonings into fish. Place whole fish over onions in roaster and set aside. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add flour, stirring constantly to create a dark brown roux (see roux recipes). Add diced onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic then sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add tomatoes and jalapeños then continue to cook 2–3 minutes. Add shrimp, blend into vegetable mixture and cook until pink and curled. Add stock and wine, blending well into roux mixture. Add bay leaves and sliced button mushrooms. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and stir until a smooth sauce is achieved. Add basil, thyme and sliced green onions then season lightly using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle sauce over fish in roasting pan, cover with lid or foil and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily. To serve, using a spatula or carving knife, remove fillets from bone. Place an equal portion of fish fillet onto each serving plate and top with parsley.

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