Monday, 5 April 2010

Pan-Fried Snapper....

 Pan Fried Snapper fillet, served with Sweetcorn Puree, Balsamic Baby Onion, and Wild Mushrooms

This is more or less a reproduction of a dish served at my restaurant. I made this on Easter Saturday for my flatmates, who (told me) they loved it. 

I first put the dried mixed wild mushrooms in lukewarm water to soak (at work we just use trompettes), before preparing the corn puree. First, dice eshallot and garlic, and sweat very slowly in plenty of butter - you don't want any colour on them. Meanwhile, take the corn off the cob, retaining the bare cob for stock. When the eshallot and garlic is nice and soft, throw in all the corn and some more butter, with plenty of salt and pepper. Continue to sweat this all off slowly, stirring regularly to avoid it catching on the bottom of the pan. In another pot, place your corn cobs in water with some garlic cloves and a good pinch of salt to simmer, making your corn stock for the puree. 

When the corn is pretty much cooked and tasting fantastically buttery and salty, pass the corn stock through a seive or chinois and pour over the cooked corn. Simmer to reduce a little, depending on how wet you want your puree - leave it very wet for a pretty tasty corn soup! Puree, season and pass through a seive again, and it's ready to go! You should cover the puree if you're not using it immediately as a skin will develop. It's easy to reheat when you need it and it should keep for at least 4 or 5 days in the fridge.

Next, peel and half your baby onions and place them cut-side-down in hot oil to colour them nicely, before deglazing the pan (with the onions still in) with a good splash of balsamic vinegar (or you can use red wine vinegar). When the vinegar has reduced, turn off the heat and turn over the onions and let the residual heat cook them through - you still want some bite in it to provide texture, but noone likes raw onion.

I then cooked the Entree of Moules Mariniere - sweat some onion and garlic (and parsley if you have it - I didn't) into oil, then throw in your mussels and a glass-ish (per kilo) of white wine. Lid on, and steam until cooked. Easy. Into some big bowls with a fat slice of white bread, and enjoy. Make sure you save some bread to mop up the juices at the bottom of your bowl!!!!

As soon as I'd finished my mussels, I was back in the kitchen to get the snapper cooking. Hopefully, you use a decent fishmonger (or you fillet the snapper yourself) and there are no pin-bones left in - just check before you cook it. If you have a seriously good non-stick pan, then lucky you - get it hot, then a little clarified butter and put the fish skin-side down, then turn the heat down to medium so it doesn't burn. I've been taught never to season seafood until after it's cooked, because salt will draw the moisture out of the flesh before and while it's cooking. If you don't have a good non-stick pan, like me, you can use greaseproof paper underneath the skin - put clarified butter on both sides - and you still get a good result. In either case, you should put a weight on top of the fish to ensure it doesnt curl up, and you get a nice evenly crisp skin. Put greaseproof paper on top of the fish and another (cold) pan on top. 


Meanwhile, reheat your balsamic onions in clean pan, and throw in your soaked mushrooms and parsley leaves if you have them at the last minute, just to warm through. Also reheat your corn puree, it's not great when it's cold!

That's about it - plate it up when it's all ready. You want your snapper to be slightly translucent still, and then start eating at the thin end - the fat part will be nicely cooked through by the time you reach it. Remember to season you fish after you've plated it up too. Enjoy.

I was slightly disappointed with the crispiness of my skin - it's much easier at work.


  1. Lucky flatmates! I never thought of keeping corn cobs for stock. Will try it another time!

  2. I'm inviting myself over! Looks delicious Mike

  3. Oh yum! I'm sure it is easier at work where you arn't missing the bare essentials of cooking tools ;)

    Next item on shopping list: 1 x non stick fry pan. Hehe =D

  4. Haha true Angie, although we do cook all our fish at work on greaseproof paper too, only on the flat-top grill, rather than in a pan. :P

  5. Ohh okay, didn't think about it like that. You need to get yourself a flat top grill then ;)


Please feel free to comment - even if it's just to let me know you're reading! ;)