(Before reading this post, please listen to this to get you in the mood and actually feel like you’re in my kitchen with me–as if you want to be in the kitchen of some strange girl making fish for lunch…but whatever, just listen!)
As per “Meals and Market Mondays“, here you go!
Red snapper is a tasty, white fish that inhabits the sea waters found right outside my windows, in the Atlantic ocean. Here, it’s a pink, friendly looking fish. I believe its pink because it feeds on mollusks and crustaceans that pass their pink-pigmented somethings onto the red snapper. Somebody back me up here. I am no expert on marine biology.
This meal is VERY easy, pretty quick, and oh-so-healthy. The fish provides us with a great amount of protein without much fat. It is easy to digest and leaves you feeling like white cotton sheets hanging from a clothes line on a Tuscan farm, blowing in the wind. Or, um, something like that.
Today I’m making it with a typical tomato, green pepper and onion salad called picadillo (it’s even yummier with some shrimp cut up into it, but I don’t have any today). Here are the ingredients for the fish and the picadillo:
- One bay leaf.
- Two cloves of garlic, smoooooshed (pop!) and de-skinned (I’m sure there are more eloquent terms, but you understand me).
- Extra virgin olive oil (I use about 1 tablespoon here, eyeballing it).
- A splash of dry white wine.
- Sea salt.
The fish vendor, (see photo–who wouldn’t want to eat lots of fish when this is the man that sells it to you!) de-guts and de-scales my red snapper for me. I really appreciate this as both tasks are pretty gross. When I’m ready to prepare this meal, my fish is gut-free, scale-free and whole, with a large opening along his/her belly where his/her guts used to hang out. I turn my oven on to 200ºC, which is approximately 392ºF. I wash the fish with cold water, especially inside the opening, to make sure there are no more little stragglers (bits of spleen, liver, etc.). I squeeze any extra water off of him/her. I place the fish in a glass, oven-safe dish, large enough to hold the fish without any tail or fin or fish arm parts hanging over any sides. I sprinkle some sea-salt ON the fish (about a teaspoon) and IN the fish, on both sides. I pour the olive oil over the fish (again, both sides). I pour the wine over the fish (ditto on the both sides thing). I place one clove of garlic in the belly opening, and the other I chop up and place on top of the fish (no more both sides action). I place the bay leaf inside the fish’s belly opening.
(my little helper sin pantalones)
When the oven is pre-heated, I place the fish in its dish in the oven. I let it cook for about 30 minutes (until you stick a fork in and see the meat is flakey throughout). Voila! So easy. Facil. Facilísimo.
And, while I’m chip-chop-chopping away, this is my view…
- Two big red, ripe tomatoes (here they ask you at the market what you will be using them for so as to give you the proper kind of tomato…big ones, small ones, red ones, orange ones, rotten ones. We avoid using any names of species or varieties, I will talk more about the intricacies of market communication in another post, quite funny).
- One Italian green pepper.
- One quarter of an onion.
- About one teaspoon of salt.
- About one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
-About 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
I chop all three ingredients. I leave the tomato in larger pieces (like the size of a marble) as the green pepper and the onion have stronger flavors. I toss all three ingredients together in a bowl. I then sprinkle the salt on the vegetables and pour both the vinegar and the olive oil over the vegetables. I then move the mixture around a bit with a spoon (don’t move it around too much, it gets bubbly, and that’s not attractive).
(My camera-shy clean-up crew)
As you can see, this meal is almost too simple if it weren’t for the quality and nobility of the ingredients. Yes, nobility. A good fresh fish needs LESS dolling up. And what better than some farm fresh vegetables, their flavors mixing to enhance each other and accompany said noble fish. A complete meal in every sense.
What do you think? Will you try it? Do you make something similar? Do you want the fish vendor’s telephone number so that he can, um, show you how to gut fish?