It’s safe to say that we are fully into fish season. Once the weather turns consistently hot, fish is consistently appealing because of both its quick cooking time and light, flaky texture.
White fish fillets, such as the red snapper used in the recipe, inspired by a dish from food and lifestyle personality Chadwick Boyd, are a fine choice a weeknight meal, and they’re made all the better when cooked with the skin on. Cook the fish mostly on the skin side and give it a flip right before it turns opaque. This method creates a delightful textural contrast, and it helps protect the delicate fish from the high heat of a skillet.
However, there’s still the matter of flavor to contend with. Snapper is such a mild fish that it needs a boost to shine.
One way to build flavor in mild white fish is to add a seasoned coating. Often this appears as a spiced batter or floury crust, but it’s not the only way. Indeed, all you really need is a spice of choice, plus some salt and pepper. Here, we’ll use cumin seeds, which bring a subtle earthiness that is balanced by acidic accompaniments — in this case, whole cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic in the residual snapper-flavored olive oil.
To round out the dish, add what may seem a curious addition — quartered romaine lettuce. This hearty lettuce will wilt and brown slightly in the hot skillet, but will still retain a somewhat crisp texture. Together with the tomatoes and garlic, it echoes a wedge salad in a whole new way.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.