Friday, May 10, 2013

Grilled Red Snapper with Warm Grilled Salad and Herb Dressing

When the weather begins to warm up in the springtime, there's nothing more wonderful than grilling.  Don't get me wrong, I still grill all winter long so long as there isn't measurable snow covering my grill.  But that's just a method of cooking - grilling in warmer weather is an experience.  You invite people over, crack open a beer, leave the windows open, and throw anything and everything on a big grill.  There's really nothing like it.

This past weekend, a friend came over to grill up some whole red snapper.  We had been aching to grill and it was finally warm enough, and she also had recently mentioned that she had never prepared a whole fish, so what better time than now!

Grilled Red Snapper prep

Grilled Red Snapper with Warm Grilled Salad and Herb Dressing

Ok, that's a terrible title - I used "grilled" twice.  I make good food, I'm not a copywriter.

Herb Dressing
Italian Parsley
Garlic cloves
Lemon Juice (1 lemon - fresh)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

I realize I didn't use any measurements here, because you'll want to do this to taste.  Stuff a ton of dill and Italian parsley into a blender (or magic bullet, which I used), a few capers, 2-3 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.  You'll want to keep adding olive oil as you blend until you get a thick creamy/smooth consistency.  Don't add too much oil, or it will turn into an herb oil not a thick herb dressing.

Preparing the Red Snapper
When buying your snapper, have the butcher remove the gills, and if the scales are still on, might as well have them scale it too.  Scaling a fish is no picnic, and those little buggers get everywhere.

Stuff the cavity of the red snapper with thin lemon slices, fresh dill, and Italian parsley. Score the flesh of the fish 2-3 times per side, and rub the outside with a Tbs or so of your herb dressing (be careful to not contaminate the remaining herb dressing with raw fish spoon or something - you'll want to use this cool and uncooked on the fish and salad later).  Set these aside to come to room temperature.  Fight off circling cats.

Grilled Salad
3 ears of corn, unhusked (pull off silks though)
3 large potatoes, sliced into 1" thick slices
1/2 yellow onion
1 small head napa cabbage, sliced in half

The ingredients are listed in order of how long they need to be on the grill.  The corn should be put on the grill first, and will take 15-20 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes.  Cook the potatoes until they're fully cooked throughout.  Grill the onion, cut side down, for 7-10 minutes.  And finally, oil (and salt & pepper) the cut side of the cabbage halves, and place them on the hot grill for 5 minutes.  Remove all the veggies, and let them cool.  Set aside.

Now it's time to come back to the fish.

Place the fish on the hot grill and close the lid; let cook for 6-8 minutes.  Then flip the fish, and let cook for another 6-8 minutes on the other side.

Grilled Red Snapper on grill whole

The goal of course is to preserve that wonderful skin, which will get nice and crispy.  The key to this is using enough of the herb dressing to oil the fish and help keep it from sticking.  You'll notice one of my fish got a little stuck, so I could have used a little more dressing/oil on the fish to avoid that.

After the 6-8 minutes are up, remove the fish from the grill.

Grilled Red Snapper off grill

As your fish rest for a couple minutes, roughly chop up the grilled veggies, which now should be warm enough to handle.  Toss with some of the herb dressing to coat.

Grilled Red Snapper meal

Serve the fish family style with the warm grilled salad and a side of extra herb dressing.

Grilled Red Snapper composed plate


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