Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fish fry, and during Lent there are many to choose from in Cedar Rapids. However, a person can only eat so much deep-fried fish, and I really do not like deep frying anything, let alone fish, inside my house. (I set up my fryer outside or in the garage when I do deep-fry.)
This red snapper topped with a strawberry-avocado salsa is a welcome flavor fest this time of year and it just may get you through the last days of winter doldrum.
The red snapper can be cooked several different ways for this recipe and each of them are equally good. I have grilled, pan seared, and broiled the fish while making this and each time with excellent results.
If using a gas grill, I like to heat the grill to high temperature and then turn the burners down. This gets the grates very hot and the residual heat helps cook the foods. You will need a good 15 to 20 minutes to get the grill up to its high temp and then another 10 to 15 minutes for the grill to balance out the temperature to your desired cooking temp.
If broiling, begin with fish skin side up about 6 inches from broiler.
If pan-searing, you will need an additional 2 tablespoons of your preference of olive or vegetable oil. I recommend using a cast iron skillet if pan-searing.
Here is what I did:
Red Snapper with Strawberry Avocado Salsa
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups strawberries, hulled and medium chopped
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoon finely grated lime zest
4 (5- to 6-ounce) skin-on red snapper fillets
In a medium bowl, stir together jalapeños, strawberries, onions, cilantro, lime juice, avocado and salt to make a salsa. Set aside. I prefer to make this several hours ahead to allow the flavors to marry.
Preheat grill to medium heat, heat broiler to high, or heat 2 tablespoons oil in cast iron skillet on medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, prep the fish by combining oil and zest in a small bowl then brush all over both sides of fillets. Season both sides with salt and pepper. When grilling, grill fillets skin side down and do not flip. Grill until just cooked through and crisp around the edges; about 8 to 10 minutes. For pan-searing, begin with fish skin side down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and flip cooking an additional 4 to 5 minutes. If broiling, begin with the fish skin side down and broil for 3 to 4 minutes then flip and broil skin side up for and additional 5 to 6 minutes. For all methods of cooking, the fish will become opaque and easily flake when thoroughly cooked. Remove and discard skin and transfer to plates. Top with salsa and serve.