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Seared Red Snapper

Posted by: Amanda Sullivan

Chef David's Seared Red Snapper with Rice Grit Hoppin’ John, Baby Heirloom Tomato, Local Shitakes, and Parmesan Corn Broth

If you’re planning a dinner party, or just a family dinner, this recipe will win you sighs of delight. Once you have prepared it once, you will find yourself using parts of it in your repertoire on a regular basis. The aroma of all the components coming together—especially the parmesan corn broth—will add to your anticipation of it landing on your taste buds.  It’s another one of Chef David Young’s southern specialties.

Printable Recipe

Corn Broth Recipe
In a stock pot add 2 quarts water, 6 fresh corn cobs,  2 chunks of parmesan rind and 2 ounces of dry salami or smoked bacon.  The parmesan rind and salami will add a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the corn, but isn’t wholly necessary.  You can take the corn that you removed from the cobs and add to the hoppin’ john, or reserve for another use.
Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  About 30 minutes of simmering will be sufficient to extract all of the flavor from the corn and the parmesan that you are likely to get.   After thirty minutes, strain the broth and return it to a sauce pan at a slow boil for 30 more minutes to reduce and intensify in flavor.
At this point, you can strain the broth again, if necessary and set aside.  It will freeze well and if you like, you can make a larger batch to take advantage of the summer corn and enjoy a taste of summer in the winter months….If you don’t reduce the broth, it makes excellent soup stock.

Rice Grit Hoppin John Recipe
•    1 cup Carolina gold rice middins*
•    6 cups water
•    ¼ cup kosher salt
*Carolina gold rice products are available at and are fabulous.

Prepare the rice for this dish first.  Bring the salt and water to a boil in large sauce pan.  Add rice and stir before reducing to a gentle boil.   Stir occasionally and check the rice after about ten minutes.  It will usually take about 15 minutes to reach a doneness that is not al dente, but just beyond.  When it is done, drain and spread on a buttered or sprayed cookie sheet to cool.  Simply set aside if you are doing the hoppin’ john immediately, or cool and cover to use at a later time.  Done a day ahead is fine.
•    1 pint fresh lady peas or other field pea(black eyed, purple hull, pink eye, Crowder, etc.)
•    Water to cover
•    1 quarter stick of butter
•    2 tablespoons of salt
•    2 cup cooked rice
•    1 cup cooked peas
•    ½ Vidalia onion, small dice
•    1 red bell pepper, small dice
•    1 Jalapeno, small dice
•    1 tablespoon fresh thyme
•    2 tablespoons butter
•    1 cup of chicken stock or corn stock
•    1 cup of heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
•    2 cup of shitake mushrooms, julienned
•    Olive Oil
•    ¼ cup of white wine

Rinse peas and place in sauce pan with enough water to cover by about ½ inch.  Add butter and salt and bring to a simmer and cook until done.  Probably 20-30 minutes. Drain and spread on cookie sheet to cool.
In a very hot sauté pan, (preferably nonstick) with a little olive oil, place the snapper filet skin side down.  The skin will need to have been scored to prevent seizing and pulling back from the pan.  If the fish begins to bow, hold it flat with a spatula for a minute and it should stay flat.  The goal is a crispy skin and the skin needs to be touching the pan to achieve that.  Keep the heat high and continue to cook skin side down.  Watch the side of the filet and you can see the flesh turn from opalescent to white.  When the white color is halfway from bottom to top, turn the filet and reduce the heat to medium.  Continue to cook for 3 or 4 minutes until done.

While fish is cooking…
Again, in hot sauté pan with a little olive oil, sweat onion and pepper until tender over medium heat…Add rice, peas and stock and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally and reduce until stock is mostly absorbed and peas and rice are well mixed. Add thyme and butter and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.
In a very hot sauté pan, add a little olive oil and sauté the mushrooms until they have softened, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes and toss in pan until they begin to blister.  Add wine, and cook an additional minute or two, until wine is essentially gone, tossing gently, all the while.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

While cooking the fish and tomato and shitake garnish, Bring broth to a boil.  In a large bowl, spoon a generous portion of the hoppin’ john into the middle, scatter tomatoes and shitakes around the hoppin’ john and ladle broth over so that it surrounds the hoppin’ john and just covers the tomatoes and mushrooms.  Finally, place the fish on top and garnish as you please.