Friday, August 11, 2006

Herb Encrusted Pacific Snapper

Our local grocery store, Murphy's, has a fresh fish (and meat) department where you can pick out just what you want, have it wrapped then handed to you by a friendly person. I love this kind of service and we folks here on the north coast are lucky to have three such grocers, the North Coast Co-ops, Wildberries Marketplace and Murphy's Markets. As do the others, Murphy's prides itself on buying from local fisherman and ranchers whenever they can. Yesterday, they were featuring fresh, local, line-caught Pacific snapper. Fresh snapper, a type of rockfish, caught from our local cold Pacific waters is very, very good. I, being no dummy, brought some home, covered them in freshly dried herbs and cooked them up today with a white wine, lemon zest and fresh chive pan sauce.

I used locally produced, Claudia's Fantastic Fish Blend as the herb base for the coating. Sold at Murphy's, this blends consists of lemon basil, chives, dill, thyme and celery, all dried and jarred to sell in our local markets each year. Claudia uses organically raised herbs from her farm in Orleans, about 30 miles inland from the coastal area where I live. As far as I can tell, she only sells locally so if you want to try some of her Fantastic Fish Blend, you'll have to come to one of the above-named stores, the local Arcata Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday mornings through November, or buy me lunch and I'll have a jar conveniently tucked into a pocket.

3 medium snapper or rockfish fillets (fresh is best; line-caught even better!)
5 tablespoons Claudia's Fantastic Fish Blend, crumbled
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (use a microplane for best results)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I use Tellicherry)
1/3 cup medium-dry white wine
2 tablespoons pear nectar (which is what I had) or white grape juice
juice of 1/2 lemon
grated zest of lemon (to your liking)
snipped fresh chives

Gently wash snapper fillets under cold water and pat dry.
On a large plate, mix the dried herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper until blended.
Heat a skillet to medium-high and add a drizzle of olive oil and a small spoonful of butter.

Meanwhile, gently press the herb mixture onto the snapper fillets.
When the butter sizzles, place the fillets in the pan, not touching, and cook about 3 minutes on each side or until the flesh just begins to flake when pricked with a fork. You may have to adjust the heat to keep from burning the herbs. Remove the fish to a clean plate and keep warm.

Maintaining the heat under the skillet, add the wine and juices to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Boil until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Immediately remove skillet from the heat, add the lemon zest, some finely snipped, fresh chives and serve the sauce over the snapper fillets. Your tongue and your tummy will be very happy.
This is my offering for the Weekend Herb Blogging event at Kalyn's Kitchen. Kalyn's round up will be on Sunday evening and food bloggers wishing to participate should email Kalyn with their links by 3:00 PM on Sunday, Utah time. To check out the WHB guidelines, click here. This is my favorite blogging event. I get to "meet" new food bloggers from all over the world, try new recipes, and learn new ways to use herbs. Fantastic!

One more thing: if you like to cook fish and you don't have one of these yet, please do consider buying one.

I don't remember where I purchased this, it could have been Bed, Bath & Beyond or World Market, but I know I paid less than $20.00 for it and it's worth every penny. No fish fell apart during the cooking and photography of this session.


  1. This sounds just wonderful. I would buy you lunch any day to get a jar of this herb rub. Someday!

  2. That looks delicious. I bet your fish is very fresh, being right there on the water. I LOVE that big fish lifter. I keep meaning to get one!

  3. Hi Sher,
    My friend Erika reminded me that we each purchased the fish lifter in Arcata at a wonderful store on the plaza named Caravan of Dreams. Isn't there an event coming up where food bloggers ship a basket of goodies to another? Hmmm... I'm thinking.
    At any rate, I'll bet you could find one at the World Market or at Nugget.

  4. That fish looks fabulous! One of these days we'll make it up the 1 to the northwest coast. The furthest I've been is Monterey - well, no actually, Sausalito. I wanted you to know I made your Spicy Peanut-Encrusted Catfish recipe tonight - but used barracuda. I posted about it with links back to you. DH loved it!

  5. That looks very good.

    My fish falls apart often and I probably could never get such great photos.

    Long John Silver fish bites.

  6. Cyndi, I went to your blog and the barracuda looks great. Good for you! Thanks for linking to me.

    Coffeepot, Thanks for visiting. Falling apart fish sounds like the heat is too high or it's being cooked too long. Try using a thicker fish and lower heat. Just a thought.

  7. Hi Christine,
    I love the photo of the snapper. I am jealous of all the fabulous fish markets in your neck of the woods.

  8. *s* Makes me think of the fish department in the local supermarket here in France. Everything is fresh and wrapped by hand. They even had a shark head the other day.
    I also went to a market day in Brittany to just have a look. I saw at least three fishmongers selling everything from sea spiders (a type of crab) to whelks.

    Snapper, however, is not a fish you get here. I haven't had it in ages. Your picture makes me crave a taste of it.

  9. Hi Nerissa, so nice to hear from you. The Brittany fish market sounds wonderful. I've not been to that part of France - yet!
    And speaking of fish markets and open markets in general, I think I've got some great photos of a market we happened upon in Barcelona last fall. If I can dig them out, I'll share them in a post.

  10. Love your blog (and your spatula too!) Your fish looks so juicy... it's making me hungry. Yum!


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