Red Snapper Filet in Puff Pastry

I hadn’t had fish for at least two years before my mother suggested snapper for dinner this weekend. Apparently, I’m a crazy person. I love fish. I tend to worry when I’m here in Dallas that it won’t be fresh, and compared to the fish market back home it absolutely won’t be (According to Randy’s slogan, “If it were any fresher, you’d be swimming with it.”) That said, fish tends to be frozen the day it is caught, while still on the boat, and as long as it is frozen properly, will be perfectly safe and almost perfectly fresh anywhere you buy it. So maybe the whole not eating fish in Texas thing is just a bit of snobbery on my part that I need to get over. Honestly, I don’t know how long I can go without more of that sweet, flaky snapper.

Ingredients (serves more than you think. 4 on the safe side, easily 6)

1 package (17.3 oz.) puff pastry

Flour, for rolling

4 snapper filets, about 1/2 lb each

juice of 1 lemon (3-4 T), plus lemon wedges to serve

your choice of spices and herbs. I used salt, paprika (or was it cayenne?), a bit of dried thyme, and black pepper for everyone else’s (mustard powder for mine. What can I say? I love the stuff.)

1 egg yolk plus 1 T of water for egg wash

Directions

Pour the lemon juice over the fish and let it soak a bit while you get ready. You can leave the lemony fish in the fridge up to a day if you like. Thaw the puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 400°F Get out a little bowl of water. Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half, and roll them out until they will wrap comfortably around your filets. Place a filet in the middle of the rolled puff pastry, season as you like (I don’t say “to taste”, because I don’t think taking a bite of raw fish with seasoning will be particularly useful.) Wrap the filet in puff pastry and use a bit of water to seal the seams. Flip the fish seam side down onto a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with the other filets.

Brush the tops only of the pastry packages with egg wash. You may want to prick the pastry with a fork a few times to let out steam–mine was a little too moist. Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown. Serve before the pastry gets soggy.

Oh, that red rice I couldn’t eat? (Yes Mom, I’m going to pout about it. Just a little.) My mother’s a genius. She made about 2 cups of rice, mixed in a drained can of black beans (I got to eat that part), and added some jarred salsa and pineapple chunks. Apparently the plan was to layer the fish filets on top of this mix in a 9×9 pan, bake it together and serve like a casserole. This sounds perfectly fantastic to me, and if you aren’t allergic to tomatoes or want to replace the salsa with New Mexican chile sauce, I highly recommend it.

Now, I’m out of practice here. What’s your favorite way to make fish?

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  1. #1 by Ariel on March 8, 2011 - 6:13 PM

    Lovely!

    But…

    Needs more owl…

    😀

    • #2 by koshercorvid on March 9, 2011 - 1:07 AM

      Well ding dang lady, I couldn’t just bring a ceramic owl to Florida! TSA probably would have thought my salt was explosive and toxic, and while sodium and chlorine are these things separately…um, maybe they don’t want me flying after all 😉

      My mom’s kitchen is *amazing*; I’m so jealous. Between that and the weather and actually seeing family, it’s hard to remember why I moved all the way out here.

  2. #3 by Lynda Kayes on March 10, 2011 - 10:16 AM

    looks beautiful, this is a difinate for my next fish dinner, we buy our fish at Andy’s fish market on Matlacha a little spit of an island between the mainland of Ft Myers and Sanibel. The fishing and shrimp boats dock right behind this store and everything they sell was swimming in the gulf that morning. We are always looking for new ways to cook fish this is interesting and looks like dinner for company.
    Hope you made the death by chocolate dessert to go with this, we finished ours on Sunday and it was still fab!!

    • #4 by koshercorvid on March 10, 2011 - 11:06 AM

      Yes, I made the nutella pudding again. I’m not sure how well it went with fish (a pineapple or apricot tart might have been better), but it’s so addicting I don’t really mind. I think mom just brushed the pastry with a whole egg rather than a proper egg wash, which might be one of the reasons it didn’t get as golden as I’d like. The other being that we plopped the whole pan in the fridge for a couple of hours and just let the pastry absorb fish juice. Don’t do that.) Despite all that, it was superbly tender and had just the right amount of lemon and made me want fish again.

  3. #5 by muddydogcoffee on March 14, 2011 - 11:03 AM

    Thanks for posting. Reminds me of perhaps the best meal I’ve ever eaten, a few years ago on New year’s Eve at The Beacon in Escazu, Costa Rica. The preparation was similar to what you describe. They took it one step further, and shaped the pastry to look like a fish, complete with little pastry fins, and eyes, etc. It kind of freaked my kids out because they thought the whole fish was going to be in the pastry, head and all.

    • #6 by koshercorvid on March 14, 2011 - 4:13 PM

      That is hilarious. I don’t have the patience to actually do something like that, but it would sure make me happy to see it.

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