Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Red Snapper with Banana Rum Creme and Lyonnaise Potato








Tropically delicious!
  
     Red Snapper with Banana Rum Creme is a caribbean Floribbean style entree.  I worked in Florida restaurants when the Floribbean cuisine trend became popular in the 1980's.  Floribbean cuisine basically makes use of locally caught Florida seafood.  Floribbean cuisine is a combination of Florida southern cracker cuisine and tropical caribbean cuisine.  The use of fruits and salsas are extensive in Floribbean cooking.  Rum or brandy is used more often than wine in Floribbean cuisine sauces.  Floribbean cuisine was most popular in coastal resort restaurants for a while.  Many local fine dining seafood restaurants still offer Floribbean entrees.  Local residents referred to Floribbean cuisine as being fine dining tourist trap food for the rich and famous snow birds.
     Red Snapper has always been a very popular tropical fish.  The meat is clean, light, white and flaky.  I have cooked nearly every member of the snapper family of fish.  Some chefs like to cook yellowtail snapper.  Yellowtail snapper is much better fresh than frozen.  The same goes for mutton snapper or mangrove snapper.  Red snapper does freeze well for some reason.  Lane Snapper and vermillion snapper are rarely marketed nationally, but they can be found in Florida fish markets.  Lane snapper and vermillion snapper both have exceptionally clean light flavored white meat.  If you are in an area that is far away from the tropics or the ocean, then frozen red snapper is probably the only choice.
     Both the snapper family of fish and the grouper family of fish have been heavily overfished in recent years.  Snapper does have sustainability issues, so check the status.  When I cooked this recipe, it was before the gulf oil spill and it was while snapper were in sustainable numbers.  Currently as of 2/21/13, Gulf of Mexico red snapper is not sustainable and it should not be purchased.  Pacific rockfish or tilapia is a better choice.  During the 1980's, tilapia was marketed as golden snapper in  restaurants.
     To check fish sustainability for guilt free dining, there are several sites on the internet to choose from.  This site is one of the best:  Seafood Watch.
     If you are concerned about the gulf oil spill disaster contaminating seafood, then Pacific fish are a wise choice.  It will be many years before gulf seafood is truly safe to eat.  Both the American media and government are the best that money can buy, so be wary of so called officials saying that the oil spill contamination is not a problem.  Keep in mind that government officials also say that GMO food is safe to eat, yet nobody in the white house eats GMO food!
     This banana rum creme sauce is simple to make.  The fish and sauce are cooked in the same pan.  Only a light amount of seasoning is added to accent the flavors of the snapper, rum and banana.  This recipe was very popular in Florida tropical resorts and restaurants that I cooked in.  This is a saute chef recipe.  Saute chef and saucier were my job titles for most of my career.
     I have sold this entree as both a lunch and dinner special du jour.  Every time I sold this recipe at a new job site, the manager and wait staff were hesitant about putting this entree on the special du jour board.  I had to literally "sell" the idea to management by making one of these entrees, so they could sample it.  The flavor of this recipe drew raves and approval from management every time.  This is a flavor combination that Americans had a hard time imagining, but it was a regular everyday flavor in the French caribbean.  To caribbean islanders, Red Snapper with Banana Rum Creme is just another average French caribbean style meal and their is nothing exotic about it.

     Lyonnaise Potatoes:
     Peel 1 russet potato.
     Cut the potato in half lengthwise.
     Cut the potato halves into thin slices.
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 5 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add the sliced potatoes.
     Add 1/2 cup of thin julienne sliced onion.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of thyme.
     Saute and toss the potatoes and onions, till they become a caramelized light brown color and till the potatoes become fully cooked.
     Keep the lyonnaise potatoes warm on a stove top.
  
     Red Snapper with Banana Rum Creme:
     When this recipe was written, red snapper was sustainable.  Red snapper is in very low numbers, so select a similar kind of fish, like rockfish or tilapia!  
     Trim the skin off of a 6 to 8 ounce snapper filet.  The snapper file can be cut in half like the one in the pictures or leave the filet whole.
     Lightly season the filet with sea salt and black pepper.
     Dredge the filet in flour.
     Dip the filet in egg wash.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 5 pats of unsalted butter.
     When the butter just starts to turn a golden color and it emits a hazelnut aroma,  add the egg dipped snapper filets while gently shaking the pan.
     Gently shake the pan, till the egg wash coating becomes firm.  (Shaking the pan will prevent sticking.  Shake the pan after the fish is flipped too.)
     Saute the snapper, till it becomes a light golden brown color on both sides.  (Only flip the snapper once!)
     Drain the excess grease out of the pan.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Saute till the shallots just start to turn clear in color.  (This only takes a few seconds.)
     Add 2 banana quarters.  (A peeled banana that is cut in half and then sliced in half lengthwise.)
     Add 3 ounces of amber rum.  (Try not to flambé the rum in this recipe, but if flambé occurs, it is okay!)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 pinch of coriander.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low/low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the rum by half.
     Flip the banana gently so it cooks on both sides.
     Add 3/4 cup of cream.
     Simmer and reduce the cream, till it become a thin cream sauce consistency.  Shake the pan occasionally, so the egg wash does not stick.
   
     Red Snapper with Banana Rum Creme and Lyonnaise Potato:
     Use a long spatula to place the snapper filet on a plate.
     Carefully use the spatula to place the soft cooked banana slices on top of the snapper.
     Pour the rum creme sauce over the banana slices and snapper.
     Serve with a vegetable of your choice.
     Place a portion of the lyonnaise potatoes on the plate.
     Garnish the plate with a parsley sprig and a couple of thin lime slices.
  
     The flavor of Red Snapper with Banana Rum Creme is pure paradise!  The very small amount of ginger, shallot, coriander and allspice is the perfect combination to accent the flavors.  Rum imparts a wonderful flavor with banana and cream.  The small amount of lime juice brightens the flavor.  Lyonnaise Potato is very popular in Florida and the caribbean.  Tropical yum!  Ya Mon!  ...  Shawna          

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