I’ve never caught a fish.
I have been fishing quite a few times , and I have never experienced the thrill in it. What I know is, is that fishing is quite relaxing for some people. The lapping of the water, getting up early and the solace of the quiet company that fishing allows.
I am more interested in cooking it. The crashing in the frypan cupboard and the sizzling of the fish hitting the smoking pan.
There are several reasons for cooking this fish. At this time of year there are plenty of small plate snapper. This one is about 600gm, or just over a lb. Asparagus is finally local and cheap and I have the most amazing capers. These capers are from Pantelleria an Italian Island in the Straights of Sicily only 60km from the coast of Tunisia. They grow in the dry rocky soil of the island sprayed by salt and hanging from every crevice the plants can reach there little toes into. Each little caper is pinched from each bush… a bud that will blossom into a beautiful flower if it is not snatched from the bushes between May and September. This is back breaking work but these crunchy and very pungent little capers are perfect for the snapper.
I’ve taken a few helpful photos in case you are not used to cooking whole fish. It is really simple…..promise
- 1 x 5-600gm snapper - cleaned and scaled
- 1 bunch of Asparagus
- 75 gm butter, unsalted - clarified
- 2 Tablespoons of washed capers
- 50 ml lemon juice ( or juice of 1 lemon)
- ½ bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 2 sprigs of mint ( a must the flavour is perfect)
- 20 gm pinenuts ( you could use almonds or skip the nuts) 2 Tablespoons of
- 1 garlic clove (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sliced chilli (optional) small chilli and garlic
- Turn the oven to 200 C / 390 F
- This bit is optional but it makes all the difference. Put the butter into a pot and melt slowly, The whey will separate from the butter. Let it go to a light golden brown. Skim off the bubbles and put aside ready to use.
- I like to cut off the fins and the sharp fins at the head. Put 3 slits in the thickest part of the fish on both sides ( see picture) Dry it with kitchen paper and brush with a little of the butter and salt and pepper inside and out.
- Heat a frypan till very hot add a little butter and put the fish into the pan. Leave on high for several minutes until the pan starts to smoke, then carefully turn the fish over. ( see picture).
- Put the fish into the oven in the frypan or transfer to a baking try. The fish will take approximately 15 minutes in the oven
- Open the oven and test the fish. It will look opac and a little bit of juice will be sitting in the slits near the head ( picture)
- Put the fish some where warm while you make the sauce
- Put the frypan back on high add a teaspoon of the butter and the asparagus spears. ( add garlic and chilli, optional). Let them blister. Turn them once then add the capers, lemon and the rest of the butter. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add salt .
- Add the parsley and mint stir and put the Asparagus onto a plate big enough to hold the fish. Put the fish onto the plate and pour over the sauce. Sprinkle with nuts and extra parsley and mint
.And now just before I go …here is a picture sent to me by Trish and Ollie from Brisbane , Australia. They made my Chicken with Chorizo, Preserved Lemon and Beetroot Couscous. I’m, thrilled guys and it looks delicious!!