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Chef Danny Trace Shares His Go-To Summer Party Dish

Chef Danny Trace Shares His Go-To Summer Party Dish

August 28, 2012 | By | Comments (1)
Danny Trace

Portrait courtesy of Jay Stevens

On September 27, Brennan’s of Houston, with Chef Danny Trace at the helm, will be hosting a Celebrity Chef’s Tour Dinner to benefit the James Beard Foundation. The menu and roster of chefs are still in the planning stages, but you can be sure it will be an extraordinary evening.

Here’s what you need to know about the New Orleans native  who’s bringing it all together.

Sautéed Redfish

Sautéed Redfish Recipe, Photo by Jennifer Davick

Latest achievement:
Teaching my boys how to shoot a shotgun and hosting the Celebrity Chef’s Tour Dinner.

Favorite Southern indulgence:
Steen’s Molasses.

Most memorable Southern meal:
My Grandpa’s onion-braised wild rabbit and rice.

Go-to cocktail?

What do you consider pantry staples?
Zatarain’s rice and stone ground grits.

Favorite kitchen tool:
Lodge cast-iron Dutch oven. It’s great for making gumbo at the hunting camp.

Favorite summer ingredient:
Creole tomatoes (a meaty variety grown in South Louisiana) and sweet corn.

Dream dinner guest:
Hank Williams III. Why not?

Southern chef who inspires you:
Frank Stitt

What would be your last supper request?
Boudin and cracklins at the Best Stop Supermarket in Scott, LA.

What would you serve for a late-summer dinner party?
Sautéed Redfish.


  • 2 cups fresh black-eyed peas
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup diced assorted bell peppers
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 3/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 4 (6-oz.) skin-on redfish, grouper, or snapper fillets
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • 8 pickled okra, halved
  • 2 lemons, halved


  1. 1. Cook peas, covered, in boiling salted water to cover 20 minutes or until tender. Remove peas from heat, and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine cooked peas, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onion in a large bowl.
  2. 2. Whisk together vinegar, Creole mustard, 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir 1/2 cup vinaigrette into pea mixture, reserving remaining vinaigrette. Cover and chill pea mixture 1 1/2 to 24 hours.
  3. 3. Rub both sides of fillets with 1 Tbsp. oil; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Press thyme and 1 Tbsp. basil leaves onto flesh side of fish.
  4. 4. Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place fish, flesh sides down, in hot oil; cook 3 minutes or until golden. (Do not allow herbs to burn.) Turn fish; cook 4 minutes or just until fish flakes with a fork.
  5. 5. Stir arugula and remaining 1 Tbsp. basil into pea salad; divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with a fish fillet. Serve with pickled okra, lemon halves, and remaining 1/4 cup vinaigrette.