Sunday, September 13, 2009

This Wino Can Cook!: Mexican Snapper & Pinot Pairing

Living on the Gulf Coast, we have a lot of fresh fish at our disposal. One of the dudes I play golf with every Tuesday enjoys cooking as much as I do, and we often trade recipes while navigating our way around the course. My friend Frank Stone is also an avid fisherman and is always coming up with different ways to cook his catch. This recipe is one of Frank's.

This a great recipe because it is simple and takes no time to prepare and it tastes awesome. You could substitute snapper for almost any firm white fish, but snapper is probably best if you can get it. Freshness is the key. Buy the freshest product you can get if you are not able to catch it yourself.

This dish can be done on a grill outside or in the oven. I like the the oven method because of the simplicity. I will mention that if you plan on cooking indoors with the oven method remove the skin so all you have is a clean filet with no bones. Otherwise, keep the skin on the deboned filet and cook skin side down if you're going to use a grill.

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees and open a bottle of wine so it can begin to breathe. Feel free to have a glass while you cook too.

Take an oven-safe lasagna style dish or cake pan and coat the bottom with olive oil. Season both sides of the filet with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place filets in the dish, leaving space between the filets. Squeeze the juice out of a fresh lemon over the filets and spoon your choice of salsa over the filets. You can use homemade salsa or some from the jar. I prefer a medium heat salsa. Next sprinkle crushed corn tortilla chips over the filets. I usually have several bags around the house and crush the chips right in the bag. Cover the filets just enough to add a good crunch. Then sprinkle the filets with shredded cheese. I use pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese, but use whatever cheddar you want. The final step is to top the filets with jalapenos. You can use fresh sliced or pickled jalapenos. Slice them or chop them. The amount of peppers you use depends on how much heat you want.

Put pan in the oven for about 15 minutes. Watch to see when the cheese is melting and beginning to brown a little. Remove the pan and let the fish rest for about 3 minutes. Using a flat spatula, gently lift the filets onto a serving dish or individual plates.

Serve the fish with a nice Mexican style rice or a saffron rice.

Snapper filets, deboned and skin removed (unless cooking on a grill)
Salt & pepper
Garlic powder
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Medium heat salsa (from a jar or freshly made)
Corn tortilla chips, crushed
Shredded cheddar cheese
Jalapenos (fresh or pickled)

I paired this fish with a King Estate Signature Pinot Noir ($27-$29).

Tasting Notes:
In the glass this pinot displays a beautiful ruby red color. It has aromas of raspberries, bing cherries and strawberries. There are subtle hints of floral and spices. At first taste you'll immediately notice bing cherries and ripe plums. It is a very typical Oregon pinot with its jammy qualities with spice and currant notes and layers of caramel and vanilla. This pinot, for the money, is a steal. It is soft and elegant; smooth tannins fill the mouth with a very long finish.

1 comment:

  1. You are quite popular, in the past week I have come across you in two published articles. I like the blog. The snapper recipe is a must try for me. I also live in the area. Visit my blog at Cheers to you and your lovely wife...