Herb and Onion Whole Red Snapper with Lemon Risotto
Clearly, I have been somewhat neglectful in updating this blog. Between finals wrapping up, the holidays, and moot court, I have been seriously under water. I have a feeling the posts will remain a bit sparse over the next couple of weeks as we finish up our moot court brief and we get into the groove of a diet change. Bear with me, and I will (hopefully!) be soon back to posting nearly every day.
This dinner was delicious. The flavors of the herbs, onions, and lemons imparted while the snapper roasted in the oven worked beautifully with the bright, lemon flavor of the creamy risotto we served it with. The cilantro added an especially fresh element that worked really well with the lemon.
If you are intimidated by a whole fish, don’t be! It is incredibly easy and almost guarantees moist, succulent flesh. I have previously posted a step-by-step picture tutorial demonstrating how to prepare a cleaned, gutted, and scaled fish for roasting. Other than that, all that is required is a little seasoning and a little bit of attention while it roasts to make sure you don’t overcook the fish. A meat thermometer is your best friend when it comes to fish, especially if you’re dealing with a fish you haven’t cooked before.
This is a particularly good risotto, as well. The lemon zest and juice adds a lovely, bright, acidity, balanced beautifully with the hint of butter and cream. The pronounced lemon flavor goes particularly well with the fish, but this would make a great main course on its own or an excellent accompaniment to almost any meat.
Herb and Onion Roasted Whole Red Snapper with Lemon Risotto
Herb and Onion Roasted Whole Red Snapper:
1 1 3/4 pound whole red snapper, gutted with scales and gills removed
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbs. kosher salt
1 tbs. freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 450º.
Season fish all over, including inside the cavity, with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Rub the entire fish, including inside the cavity, with olive oil.
In a baking dish large enough to hold the fish, place about one quarter of the onion, cilantro, thyme, and lemon. Stuff the remaining herbs and most of the onion and lemon into the cavity and gills of the fish. Lay a few slices of onion and lemon over the top of the fish.
Roast fish for about 30-35 minutes until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature of the fish reads 145º. Serve whole or cut into fillets before serving.
1 cup arborio rice
1 tbs. olive oil
5-6 cups homemade chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 lemons, juiced and zested (yield about 1 cup lemon juice and 1 tbs. zest)
1 tbs. unsalted butter
1/4 cup half and half
Bring chicken stock and bay leaf to a boil in a medium stock pot. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
Heat a 10″ cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add arborio rice and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add lemon zest and cook until fragrant, thirty seconds to a minute.
Ladle in about 3/4 cup stock. Stirring frequently, cook until most of the stock has been absorbed by the rice. Repeat the process in 3/4 to 1 cup batches, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender. This will take about 35-45 minutes.
With the last bit of chicken stock, add the lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until mostly absorbed. Add butter and half and half and stir to combine. Cook another 1-2 minutes until rice is creamy but not soupy. Serve immediately.