03 June 2010

Pan-Seared Red Snapper and Tropical Fruit Salsa ...

It all started with a really nice pineapple, beautiful mangoes, and unblemished jalapeno peppers ... then, I moved to the seafood counter and discovered gorgeous, shiny-fleshed red snapper. To boot, it was on sale ... music to a Yankee heart! I remembered a Christmas gift that I'd received from my gal, Sara. The rest is history.

Pan searing fish is the easiest way I know for getting a nice filet to the table in prime condition ... without a lot of breading, fat, and other questionable ingredients. So ... I have dedicated one pathetic non-stick pan to the task. Because I 'finish' the fish in a hot oven, I figure I'll sacrifice one pan handle to the task . I know what you're thinking. Why doesn't she just buy a set of good pans that have metal handles and are oven-proof? I know I should, but I have all these perfectly fine pans and a Yankee mentality of using one thing up before you go out and get another. So ... I'll wear out my tired old pan and THEN think seriously about getting a good one (hopefully at a sale of open stock name kitchenware that starts with 'C').

Back to pan-searing, though, I keep the fat to the minimum. I get the pan really hot, spray it with an olive oil spray, lay the filet in skin-side down, and leave it alone until the sides are just crisping. Then, I treat the top in whatever way I've planned for that meal and place it in a 400 degree oven for 4 -6 minutes (depending on the thickness of the filet and type of fish).

Tonight, I have a beautiful piece of red snapper and some fresh and spicy fruit salsa. The salsa needs a while to macerate and develop flavor, so that got made and refrigerated. The snapper will marinate in lime juice and black pepper. Then, ten minutes or so before we want dinner I'll sprinkle it liberally with this Caribbean Jerk Rub that I've just made while the pan gets snapped on the gas burner and the oven gets pre-heated.

I've tried the fruit salsa and it is jalapeno HOT ... so I'm cooking rice and sprinkling it with the same jerk rub and adding some cilantro and parsley. That should help take some of the spice off our tongues ...

My Sprout Sara gave me the Fruit Salsa and Caribbean Spiced Salt recipes at Christmastime. She tells me they are Jasper White recipes from his Summer Shack Cookbook. Thank-you, Jasper White and thank-you, Sara!

For your summertime shack cooking ...

Tropical Salsa and Spicy Salt - printer friendly

Tropical Fruit Salsa
courtesy Jasper White's Summer Shack Cookbook


1/2 fresh pineapple, trimmed, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 c.)
1 papaya or mango, peeled, seeded or trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch  dice (1 c.)
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin 1-inch strips
1/2 small red onion, cut into thin 1-inch strips
1-2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced (remove some seeds and veins if you don't want things fire engine redhot!)
10 sprigs of cilantro, stems minced and leaves coarsely chopped
3-4 scallions, trimmed and sliced (white and green)
3/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Combine the fruits and vegetables with the juices. Stir in the salt and pepper. Toss in the cilantro. Taste for seasoning and make any correction.

Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Yields 4 cups.

Caribbean Spiced Salt Rub
courtesy of Jasper White's Summer Shack Cookbook

1/2 c. kosher salt
1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a fork. Place the mixture in a well-sealed container and store in the freezer until ready to use. Keeps for months this way.


  1. Sprout Sara3/6/10 4:23 PM

    Jasper's slogan is "Food is Love." Fitting, because I love this food!!

    For those looking to make this meal: you want to use the Caribbean Rub the same way you would use salt and pepper - a generous sprinkle over both sides of the fish works. If you use too much, it can be overpowering.

  2. Thanks for that reminder, Sara! I did use a bit more than I probably should have, but that 'jerk taste' was really good!

  3. This looks so refreshing, perfect for Summer picnics!


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