A Caribbean favorite, this light, tender and flaky fish is made with whole snapper, but you can also use fillets for ease. This recipe has a mellow spice to let the flavor of the fish shine through, but it’s open to adaptation: Feel free to add a little more hot pepper or allspice, if you like, for more intensity. If you’re in a hurry or low on spices, you can substitute Old Bay, jerk or Cajun seasoning blends for the spice mix in Step 1. Then, turn it into a sandwich (see Tip), paired with sweet plantain fries, or eat it as a light meal on its own.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- ½teaspoon ground ginger
- 1teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1teaspoon black pepper
- ½cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 4(6-ounce) skin-on snapper fillets or 2 pounds whole red snapper
- 1dry bay leaf
- ½teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 3small bell peppers (red, yellow, green or one of each), thinly sliced
- 1medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1Scotch bonnet chile, pierced
- 1tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1teaspoon allspice berries or pickling spice
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- ¾cup red wine vinegar
Step 1Mix together 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, garlic powder, ginger, salt and pepper. Season the fish with the mixture.
Step 2In a large skillet over medium, heat oil until really hot but not smoking, about 3 to 5 minutes, and add the fish flesh-side down. Cook until the flesh gets a little color, about 5 minutes. Flip, then continue cooking until the skin is crisp. Remove fish and set aside on a serving platter. Drain oil, leaving about 2 to 3 tablespoons in the skillet.
Step 3Return the skillet to the stove. Add the bay leaf and fresh ginger, and sauté over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Step 4Add bell peppers, onion, carrots, Scotch bonnet chile, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, allspice and the remaining thyme leaves, and continue cooking, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Step 5Add vinegar, and stir to combine all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Let it simmer for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables soften but still retain bite, and spoon over fish. (Leave the allspice berries or pickling spice in the topping. Simply eat around them.)