Snapper or not snapper ? – Red snapper kebabs with orange and olive vinaigrette on fennel fondue
Vous avez dit Vivaneau?- Brochettes de vivaneau grillé à la vinaigrette d’orange et olives sur fondue de fenouil
I went grocery shopping yesterday and again I went crazy with fish and seafood. I have always thought I knew what red snapper was in French…in my mind I had no doubt it was “rougets” because of the red connotation (rouge = red) and rougets are red and very trendy nowadays in France, they’re served in many new and hype restaurants. Snapper looked a lot bigger but I though, oh well, anything American is bigger anyway. Yesterday I could feel I was wrong for all those years and when looking closely at the fish, I started having doubts. You might think, ok what’s the big deal, if she doesn’t know the translation. The thing is that I like to know what I eat and find out more about the fish and what it’s called in my mother tongue, wouldn’t you? Some people might think I am weird, and maybe I am.
For a while I was just staring at the fish and could not make up my mind if I was going to buy it or not. I was somehow worried that snapper would be perche du Nil which I refuse to eat. It’s been exported in France from countries like Kenya, and other African countries and it’s one of the most invasive specie you can find; it destroys every other specie around and is somehow like a parasite. Since its introduction in some African lakes, the other species that lived there, are all extinct and it created many environmental issues in those regions. I am not sure if perche du Nil is grown or sold in the US, and would hope not.
After searching all over the place, I was releaved that Snapper is not perche du Nil, but it’s called Vivaneau. Honestly I have never heard that name before yesterday. Don’t you think it’s such a cute name? sounds like the name of a kid with rosy cheeks from the 18 th century, “hello, my name is Vivaneau, nice to meet you”. First I could not believe a fish would be called Vivaneau, then I had to come to the conclusion that it was its proper name, even though there are a lot of different species in that category.
Anyway, that mysterious snapper ended up in a skewer and I was glad I learnt Vivaneau is living among many in the ocean. Snapper tends to have a fragile texture, so if you overcook it, it will break.
Fennel, orange and white fish are some of my favorite ingredients, they blend beautifully together. This dish is so simple and quick but still delicious and flavorful, let’s not forget healthy.
Ingredients for 3 kebabs
- 1 lb red snapper fillets, cut in large cubes (about 2.5 inches)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in large cubes
- 1 large fennel bulb, shredded
- 1/2 onion, sliced
For the marinade
- juice of 1 small lemon
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Szechuan pepper
For the vinaigrette
- 1 tbs dill, chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil
- juice of 1/2 large orange
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tbs kalamata olives, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- salt and pepper
In a mixing container mix snapper pieces with marinade ingredients, place in the refrigerator and marinate for about 2 hours.
In a pan, add olive oil and brown onions. Add fennel and cook at low heat until the fennel is tender, almost melting. Add salt and pepper.
Prepare vinaigrette, by mixing all ingredients together.
Start making kebabs using bamboo skewers, (previously soaked in water to prevent them from burning). Alternate a piece of fish with a piece of bell pepper. Sprinkle with Szechuan pepper and salt and broil under broiler. Do not over cook, fish is very tender and might break.
Serve with fennel fondue and kebabs on top. Drizzle with orange-olive vinaigrette.
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