Friday, January 26, 2007

Red Snapper with Deconstructed Salsa in a Packet

I'm a single girl and I love, love, love quick and easy. So every Friday I treat myself to some tasty fish. Tonight, the victim of choice was a beautiful snapper filet from Whole Foods. It was worth having to lie to the bum that followed me into the store to talk to me, I think.

Anyway, the easiest and most fool-proof way to do fish is in an aluminum foil or parchment paper packet. It's nearly impossible to dry it out and it marinates it beeeautifully. It happened that I asked the (very cute, very young) fish counter guy what herbs he thought would go best with snapper. I've done mushrooms and potatoes with rosemary, thyme, and garlic. I've done Thai style with curry, coconut, and lime. But tonight, he mentioned that snapper does well with salsa. So I thought, "ah, ha!" Why buy a jar of salsa, or waste time with a food processor I don't own when I can make own deconstructed salsa, I ask you, why? So, here it is, eat your heart out Rachael Ray. (Also, if you want to make the recipe for two... I suggest you double it. This here cookin' is for the single ladies... can I get a "HEY LADIES... get, get funky.")

Now, the foodies around here won't need nearly this much instruction, but you never know who's going to stop by...

1 lovely red snapper filet
7-8 grape tomatoes cut in half
2 crosswise slices of a small yellow onion (we want rings here girls, and not the kind you wear on your finger)
1 quarter section of a yellow pepper cut into *very thin* slices
4 jar jalepeno rings, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
2 tsps cilantro (I used dry, though I prefer fresh)
1 tsp salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp olive oil (we need a little fat)

Pre-heat your oven to 400° and start slicing and dicing your vegetables. Take out a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and fold up sides to make a little box-like structure and throw in your fish. Dump all of your other ingredients over the top. Since I like a little presentation, I lay the yellow peppers over the fish first on an angle with the onion rings over that, in sort of an arty way. Then the halved grape tomatoes and finally the diced jalepenos and garlic. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top and the salt as well. (If you're not a cilantro fan, and I know a LOT of you out there aren't, you can try to find Mexican oregano. Try your local Mexican grocery, that's where I've been successful. It's more fragrant and pungent but very tasty - use sparingly.) Then drizzle the lemon juice, lime juice and olive oil over the top, wrap it up and pop it in the oven.

Now, the filet I got tonight was a little thin so I only left it in the oven for about 20 minutes. For fatter filets I go a full half hour.

Amazingly, because of the tomato I imagine, I suggest a red wine pairing for this dish. I enjoyed a glass of Barons de Rothschild 2003 Bordeaux and it was perfect. It offset the citrus and tomato acidity quite nicely and was just mild enough not to exacerbate the tiny fire in my mouth because I actually used about 7 jalepeno rings instead of the 4 I suggested to you. But it was still bold enough not to be intimidated by the onion and cilantro.



newwavegurly said...

Interestingly enough, I've taken to packet cooking fish as well. I find it is way easier than trying to cook it any other way, and just like you said, it stays beautifully moist.

Down here, I typically get tilapia fillets. It's fresh and extremely affordable (and on special a lot on top of that).

Oh, and I can't forget my HEY LADIES! shout out back atcha. ;)

winter said...

That sounds delightful.