Parmesan-Crusted Snapper Fillet with Pomegranate Herb Salad
Always look for fish that has good colour and looks fresh. My best piece of advice is to never buy fish on a Monday – it was probably caught before the Thursday of the previous week. Ask your fishmonger what is good – believe it or not, fish has seasons too. Whatever fish you buy, treat it with care as it has a very fine and delicate structure. If you are lucky enough to have some in the larder, try cooking this in duck fat – you will be pleasantly surprised by the flavour.
- 4 pan-sized snapper fillets, skin on
- 2 eggs
- sea salt
- cracked white pepper
- 100ml white wine vinegar
- 250g grated Parmesan
- 1 large fennel bulb
- iced water for crisping
- 1 large pomegranate
- 100ml olive oil
- small handful chives
- small handful mint
- small handful flat-leaf parsley
- canola oil, or duck fat if using
Clean the snapper of any scales and spine bones. Whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Dip the fish into the white wine vinegar then into the seasoned egg wash. Coat in the grated Parmesan. Repeat the process so the fillets are double coated in Parmesan.
Top and tail the fennel bulb and slice thinly using a mandoline. Place in iced water and leave for 10 minutes (this helps the fennel stay crisp). Seed the pomegranate and squeeze all the juice from the shell over the seeds. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Drain the iced water from the fennel and pat dry. Toss with the pomegranate and add the herbs.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan the same size as the fish to high and drizzle with canola oil, or duck fat if using.
Place 2 fillets in the pan, flesh side down, and cook for at least 3 minutes, until the Parmesan starts to go golden brown. If the fish is stuck, cook for a further minute or so until it starts to lift from the pan. (Trying to force the fish from the pan will only break it.) Turn the fish and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and cook the other 2 fillets in the same way.
To serve, place some salad in the centre of each plate. Top each with a piece of snapper and drizzle with the remaining salad juices.
Keith Stewart’s wine recommendation
Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Riesling 2008
Smells sensational, with jewel-like aromas of citrus (mandarine and lime) a hint of honey and some delicious, crisp, bright flavours to match.
Villa Maria Marlborough Dry Riesling 2010
Too young really, but has some scintillating aromas to match tart up the fish, and enough piercing flavour to keep it company. Amazing wine at this price. Even better this time in 2012.