Snapper collar won the Mississippi seafood crown for a chef from Jackson, while grouper cooked in a plastic bag did the job in Louisiana for a Monroe chef.
Alex Eaton of Manship Wood Fired Kitchen will represent Mississippi and Blake Phillips of Sage will represent Louisiana in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off on Aug. 6 in New Orleans.
Eaton served the snapper throats with shrimp, gulf crab, roasted fennel, pickled ramps and lemon garlic broth.
Phillips cooked the grouper "sous vide" (SOO VEED)—vacuum-sealed in a bag, then cooked by steam or hot water. After that, he blackened the filets.
He used the sous vide technique to get as much flavor as possible into the fish, he told NOLA.com ' The Times-Picayune. He served the fish with fava beans and sweet potato puree and a corn, crab and mirliton soup.
Eaton said he learned to cut out and cook snapper throats at the Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, one of a number of places around the country where he worked for free to fine-tune his know-how before he opening his own restaurant.