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Salt-Seared Snapper with Melon, Mint & Watercress Salad

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Serves 4 as a first course.

  • by Georgeanne Brennan from Fresh 2005

Fish cooked with salt doesn’t taste salty, just well seasoned. The salt helps keep the fish moist and allows you to cook it without adding fat to the pan. Shrimp makes a good substitute for the snapper. 

  • 2 cups loosely packed watercress leaves, well washed and dried
  • 1-1/2 cups diced cantaloupe or other melon, or a mix
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb. red snapper fillet, cut into four pieces
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar

Portion the watercress, melon, and mint among four salad plates, reserving some of the water­cress for a garnish. 

In a frying pan, sprinkle the salt evenly over the surface of the pan and heat over high heat until very hot. Add the snapper and cook about 1 min. Turn, add 3 Tbs. of the lemon juice, and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the fish is lightly browned, about another 2 min.

Dissolve the sugar in the remaining lemon juice. Divide the fish and pan juices among the plates and drizzle with the sweetened lemon juice. Garnish with the reserved watercress and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve alongside herby, lemony rice.

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Sounded promising, did not work out for me at all. Partially my fault, as I did not cut the fish into pieces before cooking, so the skin curled and it wouldn't lay flat when I flipped it. Ended up still underdone after cooking much longer, and way too salty. Threw out the fish and had the salad dressed with a little lemon balsamic vinegar. Warm fish and pan juices dressing did not sound appealing to me.

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