American Red Snapper (ARS) is the subject of considerable conversation around Gulf States dinner tables these days and not for its culinary qualities. Sector Separation, catch shares, Us vs Them, and such are dominating the table talk. Set that, and yet another unbelievably short recreational season, aside the ARS is still a favorite fish to work with in any kitchen.
The flesh of ARS is variously described as being lean & medium, having a sweet nutty flavor and mild & flaky. I fall somewhere in the sweet & nutty opinion. ARS can hold its own in a complex flavor environment.
- American Red Snapper – 1 lb
- Butter – 2Tbsp
- Oil – 2Tbsp
- Cardamom – 1/4 Tsp
- Saffron Threads – 15-20
The Cream Sauce
- Heavy Cream – 1Cup
- Pineapple – 3/4 Cup Diced
- Habanero – 1/3 – 2/3 Julienned
- Lime Zest – (optional)
Most of the fixin’s for the dish. Nothing particularly fancy here. It’s all in how these few ingredients come together in the final product.
We start with the sauce. Chop, slice and dice your flavoring bits (Pineapple & Hananero) and combine with the cream in a small cook pot. The amount of Habanero is variable as it is not only quite hot but, can easily overpower the flavor profile of the dish. I recommend you start with a small amount first and adjust through the cooking process. The pineapple provides flavor and sweetness. If you desire, additional sweetness (sugar) may be added to taste.
Cook the sauce on medium-low heat to reduce and thicken. This can take 20 minutes or more so get started well enough in advance of your expected mealtime. Cook until flavors are perfect and the desired thickness is achieved. Remove from the stove top and set aside.
Partially melt the butter and mix in the Cardamom and Saffron threads.
Coat a clean, dry Snapper fillet with 1/2 of the seasoned butter. Set aside, refrigerated,until ready to cook.
Add the remainder of the butter to the oil in a big iron skillet. Heat the skillet to a medium heat.
When the oil/butter mixture reaches heat, add the ARS, cooking on both sides for 2 minutes each.
Start the plating process by placing a spoonful or two of the Pineapple Habanero Cream Sauce on your serving plate. If you choose, this is where you would add the lime zest. Just sprinkle it on the sauce.
Bring the ARS to the plate, top with a few more spoonfuls of the sauce and you are ready to head for the dinner table.
The juxtaposition of the Cardamom, Saffron Butter and the Pineapple Habanero Cream sauce create a subtle (depending on how much Habanero you used) and varied taste experience. American Red Snapper is perfectly able to pull this off and more. The dish, as shown here, is served with Dilled Green Bans.
Tight lines and enjoy.