Friday, October 11, 2013

Red Snapper Grenobloise (Gluten Free)

Let's start off by saying Red Snapper is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium  Seafood Watch "avoid" list because it is over fished. I apologize to my readers and to the existing Red Snapper population, which has declined dramatically since the 1990s. If you want to use this website yourself to check whatever you plan to eat, it is at Also, you can google sustainable fishing. The Seafood Watch will come up right after the paid sites.
Red Snapper Grenobloise is an easy recipe, if you have the $25 a pound this stuff costs. Whole Red Snapper was not available at the Fishery, the market in Northwest DC where I usually buy fish. I got a huge slab of it instead, which negated the need to scale and clean the fish. I've done that a couple of times. It is not much fun.
Back in our prechild lives, during one of my sustained periods of unemployment, our friend Bruce showed up and invited me on a bicycle ride. We went down to Southwest, where the fish market boats were and still are parked. We bought a fish for a joint dinner with Bob and Bruce's wife, Sally. Bruce wanted to get the fish cleaned. I, always cheap, said, no, we can do it ourselves. Why pay?
I found out why that night, when Bruce ushered me into the kitchen and indicated that I could make dinner. He and Bob settled down for a nice chat and a glass of wine, while Sally, who was in law school, studied in the bedroom. I remember a lot of blood, some of it mine, and a big mess. So now, I have fish cleaned. I won't say always have fish cleaned, but I will say, have fish cleaned unless you are prepared to cope with a lot of blood, scales and fish guts.
My son and daughter in law came to dinner, the same dinner where I served fried oysters. They approved of the snapper, even though, confession(!) I couldn't find the capers, which I believe is what makes it grenobloise. I did not tell them that, however. My son, who is actually an extremely nice guy, can be rather censorious when it comes to leaving out ingredients. The capers showed up on the kitchen counter later on in the week. Who knows what could have happened to them?
The recipe calls for cooking the fish on the top of the stove in a skillet with an ovenproof handle. Well, a skillet with an ovenproof handle was somehow lacking in our repertoire of kitchen equipment. So, I transferred the fish to a glass baking pan for its 25 minutes in the oven. I also left out the lemon cubes because it sounded like way too much work for a little effect. However, it's your call.

Red Snapper Grenobloise

1 lemon
1 one-and -one half-pound red snapper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons capers
lemon slices (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Peel the lemon, removing all the white pulp. Cut the lemon into thin slices and remove the seeds. Cut each slice into small cubes, discarding the membranes between sections. Reserve lemon cubes.
3. Thoroughly clean and scale the fish, but leave the head and tail intact. Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the fish inside and outside with salt and pepper.
4. Melt the butter in a skillet with ovenproof handle large enough to hold the fish. When skillet is hot, put in the fish and cook only on one side for about five minutes. Tilt the pan occasionally and spoon the butter over the fish.
5. Place the fish in the oven and bake, basting occasionally, for about twenty-five minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
6. Remove the fish from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the capers, reserved lemon cubes and butter from the skillet. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.
Serves three.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, U.S.-caught red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico is now on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch "Good Alternatives" list because of improvements in fisheries management. Red snapper from South Atlantic waters remains on the "Avoid" list because populations have not yet recovered. Details here: