Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh Snap! A Red Snapper with Spicy Kale for Dinner!

One of my favorite fish to cook and also to eat is red snapper, commonly found in the Gulf of Mexico. True to its name, the red snapper is of course, red in color both on the outside and also on the flesh (a tinge). Sold both whole and also in fillets, the red snapper is usually cooked with the skin on, which, when seared, provides a tasty and crunchy texture to the sweet flesh. The firmness of the flesh also makes it easy to sauté without the whole fillet falling apart on you, with the skin helping to keep things together.

Last week, I was able to procure several beautiful and fresh fillets of red snapper. Before cooking, make sure that the fillets have been cleaned properly on the skin side, removing any unwanted scales that may have inadvertently been left behind. To properly cook a red snapper, start with a non-stick pan. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Pour about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil onto the pan and heat it up real well (until it just starts to smoke). Season both sides of the fillet with salt and pepper and start frying with the skin side first. Check and make sure the skin is brown in color and slightly crispy before flipping it over. When the fish is done, set it aside to cool down.

To prepare the kale, clean it by removing the leaves from the main stem. We'll only be using the leaves because the stem is much to tough to chew. Get a pot of salted water boiling and blanch the kale leaves in it until soft. Remove from the pot and cool it down immediately in cold water. Cooking the kale is so simple. Start by sweating some julienned onions in a pan and then add chopped garlic and cook for another minute. Add the blanched kale plus a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and you are done.
As for the other side dish, I decided to do a vegetable hash with diced potato, carrots, mushrooms, onions, garlic and shelled English peas. You can also substitute the peas with edamame (soy beans) if you like. I like to sauté them and season with a little soy sauce instead of salt.

And there you have it, a delicious red snapper recipe with spicy kale and vegetable hash. Enjoy!

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