Poached Snapper with Crispy Artichokes and Sherry-Tomato Vinaigrette

Oil poaching is a foolproof technique for cooking delicate fish, plus the oil is used to make both the sauce and garnish.

Poached Snapper with Crispy Artichokes and Sherry-Tomato Vinaigrette
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Poaching fish fillets in olive oil is a popular Italian and French technique that delivers supermoist, delicately cooked fish. In our recipe the oil pulled triple duty: We used it to crisp artichokes and garlic for a garnish, poached the fish in it, and then blended the oil into a creamy vinaigrette for serving. To get the oil temperature just right, we first fried the garnish, then added more room-temperature oil to quickly cool the oil. We placed half an onion in the skillet to displace the oil so it would come up higher in the pan—and we could use less of it. After adding the fish, we moved the skillet to the even heat of the oven. While we prefer the flavor and texture of jarred whole baby artichokes, you can substitute 6 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry, for the jarred. Sea bass and cod are good substitutes for snapper. You will need a 10-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet for this recipe.

4 (4- to 6-ounce) skinless red snapper fillets, about 1 inch thick
1 cup jarred whole baby artichokes packed in water, quartered, rinsed, and patted dry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion, peeled
6 ounces cherry tomatoes (2 ounces cut into ⅛ -inch-thick rounds)
½ small shallot, peeled
4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1. FOR THE FISH Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 250 degrees. Pat snapper dry with paper towels and
season each fillet with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toss artichokes with cornstarch in bowl to coat. Heat ½ cup oil in 10-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Shake excess cornstarch from artichokes and add to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Strain oil through fine-mesh strainer into bowl. Transfer artichokes and garlic to ovensafe paper towel–lined plate and season with salt. Do not wash strainer.
3. Return strained oil to now-empty skillet and add remaining ¼ cup oil. Place onion half in center of skillet. Let oil cool until it registers about 180 degrees, 5 to 8 minutes. Arrange fillets skinned side up around onion (oil should come roughly halfway up fillets) and spoon some oil over each fillet. Cover, transfer skillet to upper rack, and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Using potholders, remove skillet from oven. Being careful of hot skillet handle, gently flip fillets using 2 spatulas. Cover, return skillet to upper rack, and place plate with artichokes and garlic on lower rack. Continue to bake snapper until it registers 130 to 135 degrees, 9 to 14 minutes. Carefully transfer snapper to serving platter, reserving ½ cup oil, and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Turn off oven, leaving plate of artichokes in oven.
5. FOR THE VINAIGRETTE Process reserved ½ cup fish cooking oil, whole tomatoes, shallot, vinegar, ½ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt in blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add any accumulated fish juices, season with salt to taste, and blend for 10 seconds. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer into bowl; discard solids. To serve, spoon vinaigrette around fish. Garnish each fillet with warmed crisped artichokes and garlic, parsley, and tomato rounds. Serve.

Whole Roasted Snapper with Citrus Vinaigrette
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Cooking fish whole is commonplace in the Mediterranean, and roasting easily delivers deep flavor. We found mild red snapper to be perfectly suited to this technique. Roasting the fish on a rimmed baking sheet allowed for plenty of air circulation, which gave the snapper a firm, flaky texture; a brief stint in a hot oven helped the fish stay moist. Shallow slashes in the skin ensured even cooking and seasoning and also allowed us to gauge the doneness of the fish easily. We rubbed the fish with an intensely citrusy salt to infuse it with flavor. A quick citrus vinaigrette added a final punch of flavor. If snapper isn’t available, you can substitute sea bass. Fish weighing more than 2 pounds will be hard to maneuver on the sheet and should be avoided.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 small shallot, minced
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
2 (1½- to 2-pound) whole red snapper, scaled, gutted, fins snipped off with scissors

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and grease parchment. Whisk ¼ cup oil, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, shallot, and pepper flakes together in bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside for serving.
2. In separate bowl, combine lime zest, orange zest, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Rinse each snapper under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Using sharp knife, make 3 or 4 shallow slashes, about 2 inches apart, on both sides of snapper. Open cavity of each snapper and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt mixture on flesh. Brush 1 tablespoon oil on outside of each snapper and season with remaining salt mixture; transfer to prepared sheet and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Roast until snapper flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife and registers 140 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. (To check for doneness, peek into slashed flesh or into interior through opened bottom area of each fish.)
4. Carefully transfer snapper to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Fillet snapper by making vertical cut just behind head from top of fish to belly. Make another cut along top of snapper from head to tail. Use spatula to lift meat from bones, starting at head end and running spatula over bones to lift out fillet. Repeat on other side of snapper. Discard head and skeleton. Whisk dressing to recombine and serve with snapper.

Serving Whole Fish

1.To create attractive whole fillet, make vertical cut just behind head from top to belly, then cut along back of fish from head to tail.

2.Starting at head and working toward tail, use metal spatula to lift meat away from bones. Repeat on second side.

Sautéed Sole
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Simply prepared fish is a hallmark of Mediterranean cuisines. Sole is especially well suited to this type of treatment since its delicate texture is preserved and its sweet and mild flavor is enhanced by just a quick turn in a hot nonstick skillet. A light coating of flour protected the fish and created just a bit of a browned crust during sautéing. Although the cooked fish is perfect unadorned or with just a squeeze of lemon, we also developed two fresh relishes that can be served over it. If sole isn’t available, you can substitute flounder. Fish fillets are sold in a range of sizes. Do not use fillets thinner than ¼ inch, as they will overcook very quickly.

½ cup all-purpose flour
8 (2- to 3-ounce) skinless sole fillets, ¼ to ½ inch thick
Salt and pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges

1. Place flour in shallow dish. Pat sole dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 fillet at a time, dredge in flour to coat, shaking off any excess.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place half of sole in skillet and cook until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently flip sole using 2 spatulas and continue to cook until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with paring knife, 30 to 60 seconds.
3. Carefully transfer sole to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels and repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and fillets. Serve with lemon wedges.

Sautéed Sole with Fresh Tomato Relish FAST
This relish is a great accompaniment to simple seafood dishes.
Combine 2 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces, 1 small minced shallot, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 small minced garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar in bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to tas Serve over sole.

Sautéed Sole with Grapefruit and Basil Relish FAST
This relish is a great accompaniment to simple seafood dishes.
Cut away peel and pith from 2 red grapefruits. Cut each grapefruit into 8 wedges, then slice wedges crosswise into ½-inch-thick pieces. Place grapefruit in strainer set over bowl and let drain for 15 minutes; reserve 1 tablespoon drained juice. Combine reserved juice, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 1 small minced shallot, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil in bowl. Stir in drained grapefruits and let sit for 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Serve over sole.