Saturday, 29 August 2015

Baked Snapper with Roasted Red Pepper Tartar Sauce

With this meal I wasn't really using much up, other than half of a really juicy lemon, the last 2 slices of pickles and half of a roasted red pepper. I am sharing it because it was quick and easy to make, the fish was moist and tasty, and it is the kind of dish that lends itself to an endless amount of variations...helpful when you have bits and pieces to use up!

When I say quick and easy, I really do mean it. The fish can be prepared while the oven heats up, and the tartar sauce can be made while it bakes. Of course, you still have the option of preparing the fish and sauce ahead.

Prepare the herb rub for the snapper by combining:

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil

 Lay 4 red snapper fillets on a board, skin side down, and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over each one.

Divide the herb rub between the fillets and spread it over one side.

Line 4 ramekins, or small ovenproof dishes, with a square of parchment paper. The size is not important, it is just to help with the removal of the fish after it has baked.

Place the ramekins onto a baking sheet.

Place each piece of fish into a ramekin, curling it around to fit into the dish.

Keep the herb side up, and squeeze a little more lemon juice over each piece of fish.

Bake in a 350F oven until the fish is fully cooked; this took about 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the fish rest for 5 minutes before taking it out of the ramekins and serving it, topped with the roasted red pepper tartar sauce.

To make the tartar sauce, combine:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
2 slices garlic dill pickles, finely chopped

Mix everything well to combine, taste, and adjust seasoning by adding salt, pepper, lemon juice or hot sauce.

  • The red snapper I was using had had the skin removed. This is easier for eating, and less messy. If you have fish with the skin on, and want to leave it on, feel free to do so.
  • Your fish options really depend on your taste and what is available. Good choices are firmer fleshed fish, or thicker fillets of fish such as salmon, cod, halibut or seabass. 
  • Thinner fillets such as trout or sole can also be used by placing 2 or 3 in each ramekin to create a thicker piece of fish.
  • Consider combining 2 types of fish, such as salmon and cod, or sole and trout. The two different colours and tastes will complement each other.
  • Shellfish can be used. Consider scallops, crab or lobster. Place these in the centre of the ramekin with the fish fillet wrapped around the outside.
  • The rub can be changed by using different herbs, adding spices or zest. Some suggestions are: lemon zest, fresh dill, black pepper; fresh rosemary, minced fresh garlic and pepper; lime zest, finely chopped fresh lemongrass; chopped fresh basil, sundried tomato oil, minced fresh garlic.
  • Line the bottom of the ramekin with a tablespoon of tapenade, or diced sundried tomatoes, olives and capers before adding the fish. When removing the fish from the ramekin, flip it upside down, so that it is topped with whatever was cooked underneath it.
  • The fish can be prepared, wrapped well and kept in the fridge up to a day ahead of cooking.
  • To make plain tartar sauce, omit the roasted red peppers. You can add more capers or pickles according to your taste. Other options to change it up are adding crushed pink peppercorns; mashed avocado and lime juice; garlic, fresh or roasted; chipotle chilies in adobo sauce or fresh dill and lemon zest.
  • The tartar sauce can be made a day or two ahead. The flavours blend together over time, giving a brighter sauce.
  • Other sauces can be used instead...hollandaise, flavoured mayonnaise, fresh fruit salsa using mango or pineapple, a light cream sauce or a white wine butter sauce.

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