Tuesday, February 16

Braised Red Snapper Puttanesca

This recipe is from Fine Cooking magazine.  You don't need red snapper - this is just as good over grouper and halibut - any white fish really.  Also, I prefer to use anchovy paste rather than actual anchovies - the paste lasts a lot longer.  Use about a tsp of paste for every 2 filets.  Serve with Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta.

Serves 4

4 5-oz. skinless red snapper fillets (about 3/4 inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
2 14-1/2-oz. cans petite-diced tomatoes
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise (about 3 oz.)
3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs. capers, rinsed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 tsp. red-wine vinegar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Season the snapper all over with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the sauce.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juice, anchovies, olives, 2 Tbs. of the basil, capers, and pepper flakes to the pan. Bring the sauce to a brisk simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are tender and the juices have reduced to a saucy consistency, about 8 minutes.

Nestle the snapper fillets into the sauce, spooning some on top to keep the fish moist. Drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Tightly cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and braise in the oven until the fish is almost cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness.

With a slotted spatula, transfer the snapper to 4 shallow serving bowls. If the sauce seems too thin, simmer over medium-high heat until thickened to your liking. Stir the remaining 1 Tbs. basil and the mint and vinegar into the sauce and spoon it over the fish.

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