Salt and Herb Crusted Red Snapper
- 1 whole red snapper or redfish, (about 6 1/2 pounds), cleaned and scaled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
- 1 (3-pound) box kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 2 oranges, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups cooked sticky rice, warm
- Fresh Orange and Tomato Salsa, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
With a sharp knife, make 5 slits, at an angle and about 1 1/2 inches apart, on each side of the fish. Rub 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over each side of the fish, then season each side with Creole seasoning. Place the fish on the prepared baking sheet. Combine the kosher salt, herbs, lemon zest, and juice, orange zest and juice, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Mound the mixture evenly on the surface of the fish, leaving the head and tail uncovered. With your fingers, firmly press the mixture into the flesh. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and cool for 2 minutes.
With the back of a heavy spoon or a mallet, lightly pound the salt crust to crack it open, beginning at the tail end. Carefully pull off the salt crust. Then, with a small spatula or wide knife, remove the flesh from the bone on the top side of the fish. Remove the back bone, then serve the flesh from the bottom side of the fish. Spoon the rice in the center of each serving plate. Lay the fish on top of the rice. Spoon some of the salsa over each serving.Fresh Orange and Tomato Salsa:
3 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
1/2 cup small diced red onions
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 medium oranges, skin and pith removed and segmented
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss well. Allow the salad to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: about 5 cups
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