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Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette Grouper 

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Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette Grouper

For Snapper:

1.5 lbs. snapper, cut into four 6 oz. pieces

kosher salt to season

cayenne pepper to season

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

your choice of veggies, and rice or risotto for under the fish

For Basil Vinaigrette:

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. red chili flakes

¼ c. white vinegar

¾ c. olive oil

1 c. fresh basil

¼ c. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

For Tomato Relish:

½ small red onion, minced

2 tbsp. fresh garlic, minced

¼ c. capers

½ c. kalamata olives, halved

½ c. basil, chiffonade

8 tomatoes (any variety, on the vine in winter), peeled, seeded, diced

½ c. oven-roasted tomato, minced

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

For Snapper:

Lightly season 1 side of the fish filets with kosher salt and cayenne. Get an oven-proof skillet screaming hot on the stovetop. Add the oil. When the oil begins to dance (just before smoking), place the fish, salt side down, into the pan. In 2 to 3 minutes, the fish should begin to caramelize (brown). Flip the filets, remove from heat and set the pan in a 350-degree oven for another 3 to 4 minutes.

For Spicy Basil Vinaigrette:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

For Tomato Relish:

Combine all ingredients.

To Plate:

Place the fish on a bed of risotto or rice, spoon the tomato relish over the top, and drizzle the basil vinaigrette around the plate. Garnish with any vegetables that you like. If choosing asparagus, as I recommend, toss the blanched spears in a skillet with some raw garlic and olive oil to reinforce that flavor. Serves 4.

Aftertaste

A version of this recipe that didn't contain the chili flakes or cayenne and utilized grouper instead of snapper remained a top seller throughout seven years at my previous restaurant, Moxy Bistro. Halibut works nicely as well as a fish choice. We tried to run this dish seasonally, as tomatoes came into season, yet the guests insisted I provide it year-round. We used the oven-roasted tomato to bolster the lighter flavor of the hot-house tomatoes. The relish and vinaigrette can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated to let the flavors really jive. I served this with a champagne risotto, honey-roasted artichoke hearts and blanched asparagus. The sweet flavors balance with the acidic and spicy elements and ultimately complement the flaky white fish.

— Submitted by chef/owner Eric Brenner

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