When buying seafood, I try to pick fresh fish that has been raised using sustainable aquaculture practices. I check the Monterey Bay Aquarium's seafood watch guides to look out for red flags when I shop. I take time to talk to my butcher or fishmonger to get the freshest options.
This recipe came from a stroke of inspiration while at the farmer's market one morning. I was buying fennel from one of the organic vendors and I knew I wanted to pair it with some fish. The next stall over was a vendor selling grapefruits, and I stopped to chat and pick up a few, since I love fresh grapefruit juice paired with seltzer water. He saw the fennel in my bag and told me of this salad he had recently with grapefruit and shaved fennel. I took his combination of fennel and grapefruit salad, added some green Spanish olives for brininess, and a touch of honey for sweetness, and then topped a pan-fried piece of snapper (but you could use any fresh white fish) with it. I drizzled a touch of extra-virgin olive oil around it and added a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel (sea salt) to finish the plate.
Pan-Fried Snapper with Fennel, Grapefruit and Spanish Olive SaladServes 4
- 1 large bulb of fennel, or 2 small bulbs
- 1 large grapefruit
- 6-8 Spanish green olives
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1-2 tsp. honey
- 4 fillets of snapper- approximately 6 ounces each
- 1/4 cup of flour
- salt, pepper, garlic powder or pre-mixed seasoning salt
- Start by making the salad component. For the fennel, slice the bulb thin, 1/16th of an inch. You can also use a mandoline slicer for this if your knife skills are a little shaky, but practice makes perfect!
- Remove peel and pith of grapefruit, and make segments between the membrane (or in the culinary world, citrus "supremes")
- Slice the olives. Combine the olive, vinegar, and honey to create a dressing, then pour over your salad components and toss to combine. Season with salt to taste.
- Heat a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and wait until it starts to shimmer. That will let you know that your oil is hot enough to fry your fish and will minimize sticking.
- While the oil is heating, season your flour with salt and spices, and season fish with salt and pepper.
- Lightly dredge fish fillets in seasoned flour, then fry 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towels, then plate. Add a small handful of salad on top, garnish with fennel fronds and a sprinkle of sea salt. Drizzle a touch of olive oil around the plate to finish.