For today’s meal, we made our Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette recipe. You can see the photographs of the process and the recipes for both dishes in that post.
Vermilion Snapper Meunière
Meunière comes from the French word for “miller’s wife”, and generally refers to the technique of dredging something in flour, quickly frying it, and serving with a lemon, parsley, and butter sauce. It’s a classic preparation for fish, but it can equally be used for chicken, for example.
With apologies to millers everywhere, cooking gluten free means I needed another starch for the fish. Corn starch was the first thing at hand. I didn’t want to smother the fish, so I used a tea strainer to sift corn starch over the fish. That worked well enough; if I had to do it again, I would probably just put corn starch on a plate, dredge the fish, and be extra careful about knocking off the excess.
Preparation is key here. This cooks lightning quick from start to finish once the pan gets hot. You don’t need much – fish, butter, lemon, parsley, flour – but have it all laid out and ready to go. Chop the parsley. Cut the lemon in half. And so on. Don’t dredge the fish ahead of time (it’ll pull moisture out of the fish and get gummy), do that while the butter melts in the pan. Once the fish cooks, get the lemon juice in the pan quickly so the butter doesn’t burn. Bringing it to a boil and stirring helps emulsify the sauce. Basically, before the pan hits the heat, close your eyes and mentally walk through all the steps from start to finish. You don’t want to have to think about what to do next once this gets going.
Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette
That’s part of why the warm leek salad makes a great side – once the leeks sweat and cook through, it can just hang out over a low flame and keep warm. You don’t want to have two dishes that are complicated to finish coming together at the same time – it works in a restaurant where there are multiple cooks working in concert. At home, cooking solo? Don’t make the task harder than it needs to be.
Vinaigrette, in its essence, is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, by volume. You can vary that depending on whether you want more bite or less, or whether your vinegar or oil is particularly pungent, but that’s the basics. Often, vinaigrettes are made with a very neutral oil to not mask the flavors of a dish. But, in this case, with the rendered and reserved bacon fat available – why not put it to good use? Lemon juice brings a sweeter, milder acid to the dressing instead of vinegar, and dijon mustard is a sympathetic sharp flavor. Play with this depending on what else you are serving; for pork chops, for example, throw in chopped rosemary, or with chicken, thyme and tarragon.
Finding Good Local Suppliers
To close, I can’t stress how beautiful this vermilion snapper fish was. Finding good local suppliers and getting to know them are the surest way to stunningly awesome food. In this case, I trust PJ Stoops to tell me about the fish he has on offer and tips for preparation. Christine mentioned in the post that she doesn’t like fish, and that’s a bit of an understatement. I was amazed that she enjoyed this as well as she did; while I would like to say it’s because of my culinary prowess, the quality of the fish really made the difference.
[…] Be sure to read the Cook’s Notes: Vermilion Snapper Meunière with Leeks in Bacon Vinaigrette for tips on how the recipe came together, tips on the preparation process, making the dish gluten […]
Oh hey nice blog. Just now finding out about this.
It is fairly new – we were posting the recipes on my blog and the Cook’s notes on Mike’s blog and decided it made more sense for readers to have it all in one place.
It is our weekly cooking project – Mike cooks, I photograph, and it gets us in the kitchen at the same time! 😀
I love actually knowing someone(actually 2 someones) that blogs.
@christinebpc @coffeemike thanks for the kind words! Also try using sticky rice flour. Awesome for the frying.
@inourwaters @christinebpc Ooh! Hadn’t thought about that. Need to keep some on hand. Thanks for the tip! (And the photogenic fish. 🙂 )
@inourwaters @christinebpc @coffeemike Is that just flour milled from short grain rice? If so I can totally make that happen.
@wynkoutloud @christinebpc @coffeemike well…it’s glutinous rice flour. Product of Thailand is the best.
@inourwaters @wynkoutloud @coffeemike “glutinous rice flour” as in it has gluten? Or just that it is gluten-like?
@christinebpc @inourwaters @wynkoutloud I looked that up. “glutinous” refers to its stickiness, not actual gluten.
@christinebpc @wynkoutloud @coffeemike jai yen yen- only means it’s sticky. “i”, not “e”.
@inourwaters @wynkoutloud @coffeemike Good, good. It is nice being able to breath now that I’m gluten free. Want to keep it that way. 😉
@inourwaters @christinebpc @wynkoutloud khaawp khoon maak!
@coffeemike @christinebpc mai bpen arai, buddy. See you soon
@inourwaters I agree with @coffeemike – thank you for the beautiful and DELICIOUS fish! I don’t normally like fish, but that was DIVINE!!!
[…] (Our Vermilion Snapper Meuniere was from PJ as well, and you can read more in the Cook’s Notes on the Meuniere on why finding good local suppliers is important.) […]