The Caribbean includes islands and countries as diverse as Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Antilles, Guadeloupe and Martinique, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and The Virgin Islands. Common foods like seafood, chicken and coconut, as well as recipes like jerk and callaloo, unite these islands into a heterogeneous culinary paradise.
This is one of my favorite ways of serving this tasty fish in an attention-grabbing presentation. Ask your fishmonger to scale, gut, and clean the snapper. Short blanched almond pieces are readily available in the baking section of most grocery stores. Serve with rice and peas and a salad or lots of your favorite roasted vegetables.
1 fresh Scotch bonnet or jalapeño chile, halved and seeded
1 tomato, blanched and peeled
1 stalk of celery, with leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1/4 cup (10 g) fresh thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lime juice
1/2 cup (28 g) soft bread crumbs
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1/4 cup (59 mL) corn or vegetable oil (optional)
1 four-pound (1.8 kg) whole snapper, scaled, gutted, and cleaned
4 ounces (113 g) blanched almonds, cut into short matchsticks
1 bunch greens, washed and dried
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C/gas mark 6).
Put all the ingredients for the paste into a food processor and blend on high to form a thick paste. Place the snapper on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to make three diagonal cuts 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on both sides of the fish. Fill these cuts with the paste and smear the rest of the paste all over the fish.
Stick the almond pieces upright into the paste so that they stick up in the air like spikes. Also stick almond pieces into the cuts on the side facing uppermost. Grease a large, preferably nonstick, baking pan, place the fish in it, and bake, uncovered, until flesh is tender and flaky, about 40 to 50 minutes. Serve hot in all its spiky splendor on a bed of greens or with your choice of side dishes arrayed around the fish.
Dorinda's Taste of The Caribbean
African-Influenced Recipes from the Islands
By Dorinda Hafner
$16.95 paper, 160 pages with illustrations throughout
Ten Speed Press, 1996
Reprinted with permission
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This page modified January 2007
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