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
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?