Fresh Fish: Red Snapper Right Off The Boat In Monterey…

…and into the frying pan with the shortest of detours to rub down with a seafood rub (garlic powder, kosher salt, ground black pepper, lemon zest, herbes de provence). This was a truly delicious supper last night and the rub was the secret. Well – apart from the fish being REALLY fresh.

With any fish you have to work with care. It is delicate, tender and easily hurt. But it is actually a crime to be rough with truly fresh fish because the freshness makes fish perfect. I knew I wanted to fry it very fast until just cooked and I like a small amount of a strong rub on delicate fish like snapper, so I concocted the rub above with what I had at hand, rubbed it carefully and evenly into both sides of all the fillets and fried rapidly in olive oil: 2 minutes one side, one minute the other. I had a warm plate ready, put the fish on it and rapidly deglazed the pan with lemon juice and white wine. I poured the sauce over the fish and served it with orzo aglio e olio, asparagus and wilted spinach.


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  1. Owen, fresh fish is one of life’s great pleasures. Was it literally right off the boat? As a person stuck on the shores of the less-than-edible Lake Ontario, I envy you tremendously.

  2. right off the boat as in it was caught sometime in the early part of the morning – very, very nice indeed. We actually can’t get it that fresh all that often – you have to actually go to the ocean for that (we live about 30 miles away) – but yes, still easier than from Lake Ontario!

  3. Rob, to get good fish out of lake ontario, all you need is a fishing rod! You can get great salmon, steelheads and lake trout out of there! No commercial fisheries but still plenty of fishes. That being said, I still prefer salt water fishes 😉

  4. Lake Ontario is huge, and I’m sure that somewhere the fish might be okay, but living in Toronto, I’m not sure I’d just use a fishing rod off the shore!

    Guess I’ll have to trudge down to the market and pretend.

  5. You are right in pointing out the fact that fresh fish should not be destroyed by overpowering it with flavors.

    {I do not however agree to the fact that frying fresh fish would maintain its flavor more.

    You could have rather grilled the red snapper whole for enhancing its flavor.

    As whole snapper could have taken long time to cook, the slow cooked flavors would have made the spice rub penetrate slowly with the flesh of the fish thereby increasing the taste.

    Aaron DeRego, chef-owner of Westport seafood paradise The Back Eddy also emphasizes on grilling fresh fish whole to enjoy it thoroughly.

  6. Esther – I didn’t mean to imply that frying it was the best way to cook it! Just that I chose to fry it that time. Mostly because I didn’t have time to outdoor grill (I only have charcoal) and I didn’t want to heat the house up any more than I had to – it was one of our around 100-degree days!

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