We are just days from September. How can that be? In reality, that means almost a full month until summer technically comes to a close, but already the evenings are shorter and cooler than they were a few weeks ago. While we’re still in the hay days, the golden bounty and glorious splendor of summer, let’s keep eating dinner in the yard, keeping the beer cold, and resisting a sweater until the mosquitoes start to bite. This has been a lovely summer. Jam-packed and festive, easygoing, fun-filled and certainly sun-drenched. With all of that in account, I am still looking forward to having my tea hot, not iced, and snuggling into fall a bit.Until then, the garden is fit to burst with tomatoes and it’s still warm enough at dinner that the idea of grilling outside is a pleasant one. This quick dish makes the most of a really underrated fish: red snapper. Of course you could use and firm fleshed grill-able fish you like or can get your hands on, but the flavor of snapper is quite unique and worth a try if you’re not too familiar.
It all starts with a serious flavor base – snapper can stand up to strong flavours, so peel yourself a few extra cloves of garlic. Onions, garlic, chopped lemon and olives lay the ground work for the sauce. (Go ahead and make a pot of basmati or jasmine rice while you’re at it.)
Then spill in a rainbow of tomatoes and get that fish on the grill. Once the rice is done, you can sit down to dinner. Enjoy!
Grilled Red Snapper with Tomatoes
2lb/1 kg red snapper fillets
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup whole green olives
1 lemon, unpeeled, seeded and chopped finely
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
6 C chopped tomatoes (different colors and varieties if you can get them)
3 Tbsp butter
½ C basil leaves (loosely packed)
½ roughly chopped parsley (loosely packed)
½ C chopped green onions
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, lemon and olives. Once the onions are softened and fragrant, add the tomatoes and peppers. Cook gently, covered while you cook the fish.
To prepare the fish, liberally salt and pepper it. Grate over it a few dashes of nutmeg (about ½ tsp, total) and grill it on a hot grill (or in a hot non-stick pan) for 3 -5 minutes a side, depending on the thickness.
Finish the sauce as the fish comes off the grill, by stirring in the butter and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You may wish to add a tsp or so of honey if your tomatoes are particularly acidic. The sauce should be flavorful and well balanced, not too sharp.
Serve the tomato sauce over the fish. Serve over rice or quinoa.