Caribbean Style Fish for a Hot Summer Night!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Caribbean-Spiced Grilled Red Snapper with Tropical "Salsa" and Tandoori-Spiced Shrimp

Sometimes, especially in the summer, I really crave tropical flavors. Caribbean food is wonderful if done right and hits all of my favorite notes in food: spice, depth, heat, color, freshness. It's earthy, soulful food without being heavy and consuming, and often is quick and easy to prepare.
We got some red snapper fillets this past weekend and I played around with my recipe. It's inspired by Jasper White's Summer Shack Cookbook, which if you do not own yet and love fish of any kind, must go get. Now. It's the bible of seafood cooking.
At any rate, here's the recipe:
For the Tropical Salsa:
1 ripe nectarine or yellow peach, chopped
1/3 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 jalepeno pepper, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
splash of lemon or lime juice
small pinch of kosher salt
couple of turns of freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine all above ingredients and set aside for at least 1 hour to marinade. Serve chilled as a cold contrast to the hot grille fish. Can also add cilantro as a garnish if desired.
For the Snapper:
2 red snapper fillets, skins removed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Quick Caribbean Spice Blend (recipe follows)
Take the fish and brush vegetable oil on both sides. Sprinkle desired amount of Caribbean seasoning. Set aside. (this can be done ahead of time and refrigerated even the night before, but the loner it stays, the more concentrated the spice flavors will be so use less if doing it further in advance).
On a high heat charcoal grill, place fish flesh side down and grill for 2 minutes on direct heat. Gently loosen with spatula and flip the fish over and grill other side another 2 minutes. Move to colder part of grill (the peripheries) and let finish cooking about 4 more minutes, depending on thickness of the fish. Remove and top immediately with the tropical salsa and shrimp.
Quick Caribbean Spice Blend
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp brown sugar
pinch kosher salt
few turns of black pepper mill
Combine and season or place in storage container.
Tandoori-Spiced Grilled Shrimp
1 tsp tandoori paste (found in your import section of local supermarket)
1 heaping tbsp plain yogurt
1/2 pound shrimp, shell and tails on, cleaned and deveined if possible
Combine the tandoori paste and yogurt and set aside.
On a high heat grill, place shrimp on (with shells still on) and grill on both sides until just turning orange-pink in color. Remove promptly and take shells off, but leave tails on (this is easiest done with scissors). The shrimp will be half-cooked at this point. Brush the tandoori-yogurt mixture on the shrimp, and return them to the grill to finish cooking. When the shrimp are just firm to the touch and turn opaque, they are done. Remove them promptly, apply another coating of tandoori-yogurt and serve hot.
Serving Suggestions and Plating:
Plate a generous portion of white rice and black beans on the bottom of a plate. Place a red snapper fillet on top of that, and top with tropical salsa. Layer about 3 shrimp on top of that and serve hot with a margarita.

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