Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pan-Fried Snapper with Fennel, Grapefruit, and Olive Salad

To me, eating healthy also means eating responsibly. I try to buy fresh ingredients locally, seasonally, and sustainably. I am thankful to live in a climate where year-round farmer's market are available. I pick up produce and eggs that are fresher than their grocery store counterparts, for the same or less than grocery store prices. At each stall you can communicate with the vendor's directly about their wares, and get a feel for the food you are about to purchase. Of course, not everything can be purchased at the farmer's market. When shopping at the grocery store, I shop the perimeter first, before picking up pantry items to minimize the desire to pick up processed junk foods.

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.
Fish should smell like the waters they came from, never "fishy", and the flesh should be opaque without bruising or tears, and should spring back when touched.

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 Salad
Serves 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
  1. 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!
  2. Remove peel and pith of grapefruit, and make segments between the membrane (or in the culinary world, citrus "supremes")
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. While the oil is heating, season your flour with salt and spices, and season fish with salt and pepper.
  6. Lightly dredge fish fillets in seasoned flour, then fry 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  7. 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.
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1 comment:

  1. Yummy! This sounds wonderful! Will have to give it a try. :-)


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