Sunday, August 31, 2008

Red Snapper with Garlic Red Potatoes and French Green Beans

My brother Brad and I like to order a shot called a Red Snapper when we go to 6th street. I’m having trouble remembering what all is in it: crown royal, cranberry juice and some other stuff. Whatever it is, the Red Snapper shot remains one of my favorites because it is so yummy and easy. Up until now, this shot at the bar was my only interaction with red snapper until I went to the Austin Farmers Market last Saturday and decided to be daring and purchase a filet of red snapper fresh from Freeport, TX.

After doing some online research I learned that red snapper is a popular choice for cooks because of its white color and sweet mild flavor. This versatile fish can be paired with a variety of flavors and sauces to go with whatever “style” of dish you want. Cajun, Italian, Mexican “ole.” Fish in general is a great choice for those wanting to eat healthy. It’s low in fat and contains omega-3 fatty acids.

The fisherman tried to sell me the whole fish, saying it’s easy to grill a whole fish and the skin helps protect the meat and keeps it moist. I believe he even said there were not bones to pick out either. That would have been a huge leap for me, I felt the filet of fish was daring enough. When I asked him how to cook the filet he said it’s easy to make, and described how I should use foil to make a boat for the fish, season with salt and pepper and then fill the boat with some olive oil. He said if I put this on the grill for 8-10 minutes that I could use a spatula and lift the meat right off the skin.

This was great news since I have a phobia of fish and its skin, scales, bones. The last time I had to remove the skin from a fish I ended up crying in the kitchen and Jim had to do the dirty work for me. I’m completely grossed out by fish parts. I do like the taste of a white, flaky, buttery fish however; I’m just not able to handle the fish. Lucky for me, Jim was available to “do” the work while I gave instructions from behind him. He first rinsed the fish with water and patted dry. I put a good ½ cup of olive oil in a baking dish first and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Jim placed the fish, skin side up in the dish and we let it marinade this way for an hour or so.

While the fish was marinating I took some small red potatoes and quartered them and placed in small baking dish.

Now for the spices. I sprinkled the potatoes with cracked rosemary (heavenly).

Next I added healthy dashes of salt and pepper and then melted two tablespoons of parmesan chive butter over the top. These went into a 350 degree oven covered for an hour and then I baked them an additional 15 minutes uncovered. About every 20 minutes I tossed the potatoes around so they would be evenly coated with the special butter and spices.

This is my fish fryer that I’ve never used, but decided to give it a shot since this way I wouldn’t have to touch the fish while it cooks. What I didn’t do, but would recommend is to spray the foil on the grill with non-stick spray first.

Next, my brave boyfriend Jim puts the oiled snapper in my grill pan for me.

I cooked meat side down in a medium hot grill (sorry I didn’t look at the temperature. I simply turned the grill on high and let it heat up for 20 minutes and then turned the flames down a bit to what I would call medium) After about five minutes, I used the handy dandy fish fryer basket and flipped the fish so it was skin side down and meat side up. I melted a tablespoon of the parmesan chive butter (yes, I’m putting it on everything these days) and with a basting brush I coated the flesh with this lovely concoction.

THEN, because you know my love for garlic I spread two chopped cloves of garlic over the fish and closed the lid of the grill to let it cook for another five minutes. Oh my goodness! You wouldn’t believe the gourmet flavors and scents hovering in my backyard. The dogs were going crazy, so curious as to what was going on. Maybe they felt my excitement as I poured myself a glass of wine and yelled from the kitchen, “Jim, I am soooo good!”

I flipped the fish one more time after that and cooked for maybe five minutes to get the parmesan and garlic crust on the meat. When pricked with a fork the fish flaked beautifully and was opaque throughout. It was done, my masterpiece complete.

Goodness gracious!

I heated some french green beans and served it alongside the grilled red snapper and rosemary garlic potatoes.

The fish was delicious, buttery and juicy with the right amount of seasoning as to not overpower the simplicity and cleanness of the mild and sweet fish. I swear, that parmesan chive butter is amazing.

We drank a J. Lohr cab from Paso Robles with this meal. This winery has a tasting room in San Jose where Jim and I are spending our Labor Day Weekend, so when I saw it on sale for $12 I definitely wanted to give it a shot as a prelude to our wine weekend adventure.

I have to say that at first sip I said, “It’s okay” but the more it opened up in my glass the juicier and smoother it got. This leveled out to be a great rounded dinner wine. I might suggest a buttery chardonnay with a fish dish, especially this one with its many layers of garlic, rosemary and buter flavor – but I wanted to start getting us in the mood by drinking something from San Jose.

We are on our flight now to San Jose as I type this. After a two hour delay, we are finally in the air. Here is a classic picture of Jim sleeping in the terminal while we wait and wait and wait. Good thing he doesn’t read this blog!

Once on our flight, we were anxious to use my southwest drink tickets to take the edge off the delay. Jim and I both ordered a cran-apple with vodka. I don’t know where the miscommunication was, but this is what we ended up with.

You should have seen the look on the faces from those around us. She didn’t even take my drink tickets, I think it was her way of apologizing for the delayed flight.

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