Red Snapper, if found in your local market, should be snapped up (no pun intended) and made a part of your regular meal time entree at least once a week. It's relatively reasonable in price and can be prepared in a variety of ways, including sauteed, broiled, baked, poached, and in stews. It is a fairly firm white fish that a little goes a long ways to satisfying your hunger.
Red Snapper can be purchased filleted, as steaks, or whole (ideal for baking with a white wine braise). Just remember, as with all fish, it doesn't take much time to cook - or overcook. Once overcooked, any fish should be given to the cat. If baked, it's best to preheat your oven to 425F (210C), take your fillet or steak in an oven proof pan, drizzle a little olive oil or melted butter, salt and pepper, and bake on lower rack uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes max for a 3/4 to 1 inch thickness. Check it at 8 minutes, it should feel tender like the mound on top of your hand between the thumb and index finger. Remove it from the oven and let it set for a minute in the hot pan, then transfer to a heated serving platter. A squeeze of lemon, fresh minced basil or dill and you'll have yourself an entree that will be every bit as good as you will find in any fine restaurant.
Another great way of preparing Red Snapper is by a high heat saute for about 2 minutes, then pouring a half cup of white wine or fish stock with minced garlic and shallots, reducing the heat, cover, and cook another 5 minutes. This preparation is what is featured in this post. Remember an important factor, whenever possible, please select fresh cuts of fish. Smell it, it should have an almost odorless scent of the sea or fresh stream. If purchasing whole, make sure the fish scales are intact, shiny, and not dried out. The eyes should be clear and not milky or cloudy. If the fish department smells fishy when approaching it, turn around and walk away.
Ingredients needed for a serving of 4:
4 Red Snapper steaks or fillets, approx. 5 ounces each, skin on
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh basil stem, leaves sliced in thin strips
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1/4 cup of hot water (if needed, you can use)
3 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of rice vineager or white balsamic vineager
salt and white pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 cup of uncooked medium grain Jasmine rice
Prepare enough steamed white rice for 4 servings, usually 1 cup of uncooked white Jasmine rice will work well. Have this ready about 10 minutes before fish is ready to serve. Follow cooking directions on package as they vary depending on what type of rice you choose
In a large saute pan large enough for 4 pieces of fish, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. When oil is hot, place the fish in the pan and saute 1 minute on each side. Next, add the garlic and shallots to the pan and saute for another 30 seconds. Finally, add the white wine, reduce heat to low, and cover. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove pan from heat, place fish in a hot serving plate. Leave the liquid, shallots, and garlic in the pan. Return pan to heat, keeping heat on low to medium low. Add the tablespoon of vineager, a couple of tablespoons of the water to the pan. Now little by little, add a bit of the butter, all the while constantly stirring as the butter melts. Continue to slowly add the rest of the butter and the lemon zest. Stirring over low heat, make sure the butter does NOT come to a boil or you will separate the fats and you'll have a mess. When you have a nice smooth and silky sauce that coats your spoon, add salt and white pepper to taste. Once satisfied with the flavor, pour the sauce through a fine strainer into a sauce bowl. Discard the solids left in the strainer. Serve over the fish and rice on each individual guest dish and finish off with sprinkles of the fresh basil. Serve hot and enjoy.