Kid-Tested, Toddler Approved: Red Snapper Fajitas

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last night while at Whole Foods I didn't know what to make for dinner. My Fish Guy suggested the red snapper that had just come in, and it did look great. So I grabbed a large fillet and he suggested making fish fajitas. I thought that was a great idea; one of those "duh" moments.

We always do fish "tacos" whenever we don't know what to do with fish. But the fajita formula (peppers, onions, garlic, protein) yields itself nicely to a meaty white fish like red snapper or halibut. My addition of fresh thyme, lemon and meaty Spanish green olives gives a bright and salty top flavor that really brings out the brilliance in white fish. It's light, it's healthy, it's super easy to make, and a great week night meal for you and the kids.

Any white, flaky fish works well for this -- halibut, sea bass, snapper, grouper -- but snapper turned out particularly well and is a fraction of the cost of halibut or sea bass. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your fillets, so keep that in mind when cooking yours.

Red Snapper Fajitas
1 very large red snapper fillet (skinned and cleaned by your fish guy)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 medium-large sweet onion, sliced (recommended: vidalia or maui onion)
2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, sliced
1/4 cup Spanish green olives
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
fresh tortillas for serving
Clean your red snapper and pat it very dry with paper towels. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Cut it in half or thirds to fit your pan if necessary.
Heat about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on high heat until almost smoking. Carefully place the fish fillets in the oil and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the fish carefully (it will stick, so use a sturdy spatula) and set aside on a plate. Fish will continue cooking so don't worry if it is still rare in the middle.
Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan, and more oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and saute on high heat about 5 minutes, or until softened and edges start to caramelize. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs and lemon all at once and cook another 3 minutes. Turn the heat lower if necessary so the vegetables and garlic don't burn.
While the veggies are cooking, cut your fish fillets into large chunks. Again, don't worry if it's not cooked all the way through; it will finish cooking shortly. Add the fish pieces back into the pan with the veggies and add the olives. Give everything a good stir with spatula or spoon, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and let cook another 2-3 minutes or until fish is completely done. Fish should be white and firm, but still soft and flaky.
If using fresh tortillas, preheat a pancake griddle pan or a regular non-stick pan large enough to hold the tortilla on high heat. Cook the tortillas, turning as needed, until bubbles form on both sides and they turn white with very pale golden spots. Fold in half, then in half again to form triangles.
Serve fish fajitas with tortillas hot.


Amanda Ebner said...

Are those homemade tortillas too? They look amazing!

Mishy said...

Not really. I mean, you can buy "fresh" tortillas at the store. They're usually found in the dough section like where the pizza dough is or in the Mexican section where the queso fresco and crema are. Anyways, they're still raw "dough" so you have to cook them and they taste infinitely better and more authentic than the ready-made ones you find in the bread aisle.

Christa Jeanne said...

Can I use this same fajita-making technique with another meat? Example: cooking chicken, slicing it while cooking the peppers and onions, and then adding it back in to finish cooking? I know chicken is more worrisome with contamination...

Mishy said...

You can. If you did chicken, I would just take a breast or two and slice into the thicker part (slice into; not all the way through) and marinade it. Then like you said -- grill first to sear, then add it back in to finish cooking with the peppers. Or honestly, I just slice the chicken straight up and marinate it already cut into strips sometimes to make it even easier. If you did this then you're ensuring cooking all the way through if that's a concern.