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Seared Snapper with Gazpacho Vinaigrette

Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

Every cook knows that fish has to be perked up with a little acid, even if it’s just a spritz of lemon or lime. This gazpacho vinaigrette addresses the problem head on. Gazpacho is a Spanish soup with many variations, but the basic model is a cold chunky tomato vegetable soup. The dish’s acidity comes from the tomatoes.  I have notched up the acidity by adding sherry wine vinegar and olive oil to the standard gazpacho ingredients. With the olive oil, it’s transformed into a chunky vinaigrette for the sauteed snapper. I think you will find this a very refreshing quick dish.

1 beefsteak tomato (about 3/4 pound), peeled, seeded and chopped (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
4-inch piece English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and drained
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 garlic clove, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon “extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
1/3 cup Wondra or unbleached all-purpose flour
Four pieces red snapper or striped bass fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds total), skinned

Set aside 1/3 cup each of the tomatoes, bell pepper, and cucumber. Puree the remaining tomatoes, bell pepper, and cucumber with the onion, vinegar, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the oil; add the remaining oil gradually to the vegetable mixture with the blender motor running. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the reserved chopped tomatoes, bell pepper, and cucumber along with the olives.
Combine the flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a pie plate. Heat half of the reserved 3 tablespoons oil in each of 2 large skillets over high heat until hot. Coat the fish on all sides with the flour, shaking off the excess. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the fish. Cook the fish until golden, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to serving plates and spoon some of the vinaigrette over each serving.

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Sara's Weeknight Meals is produced by Silver Plume Productions and WETA Washington, DC, and distributed by American Public Television (APT) to public broadcasting stations nationwide. Corporate funding is provided by Best Buy, Gallo and King Arthur Flour. |

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