Seared Snapper with Gazpacho Vinaigrette

Posted on September 24th, 2010  |  Filed under Episode 115 « Sara's Weeknight Meals Season 1

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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