The salsa, which is a mixture of, among other things, cool citrus and hot chile peppers, makes a perfect backdrop for the snapper. Although you can make this in the broiler, opt for the outdoor grill; the taste will be that much better.–Rick Stein
LC CHOOSING A CHILE PEPPER NOTE
There are gobs—that’s the technical term, mind you—of chile peppers out there of varying heats. Suit yourself. Although if you haven’t a clue as to where to begin, know that serrano is hotter than jalapeño and that habanero is about as hot as it gets yet with a lovely fruity lilt.
Grilled Snapper with Mango and Shrimp Salsa
For the salsa
- 2 large medium-hot chile peppers (preferably red)
- 4 ounces cooked and peeled shrimp thickly sliced
- 4 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- 1 avocado ripe but firm, peeled and cut into small dice
- 1/2 mango ripe but firm, peeled and cut into small dice
- Juice of 1 lime
- Pinch salt
For the fish
- Four 6-ounce red snapper fillets (or substitute skin-on red mullet, sea bass, bream or porgy, John dory, or gray or striped mullet)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cilantro sprigs for garnish
Make the salsa
- Cut the chiles in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a small knife; leave behind the ribs to give the salsa a little more heat. Cut the chiles across into thin slices. Then simply mix all the salsa ingredients together.
Make the fish
- If you are using a charcoal grill, prepare and light it 30 to 40 minutes before you want to cook the fish.
- If you are not cooking the fish over charcoal, put a ridged cast-iron grill pan over a high heat (or preheat the broiler). Brush the snapper fillets on both sides with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cut each one into three, slightly on the diagonal.
- Cook the pieces of snapper, either skin-side down on the grill or grill-pan, or skin-side up under the broiler, for 3 to 4 minutes.
- To serve, spoon the salsa onto four plates and arrange the grilled strips of fish on top. Drizzle a little oil around the edge of the plates and garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Wow. On the recommendation of a friend, I made this for dinner last night. The salsa came together in a flash and a quick rest in the grill pan was all that my fish needed. This was amazing. It was spicy, sweet and perfect. I used a ridged cast-iron grill pan and found it needed a bit longer that the three to four minutes called for, but I am thinking perhaps the grill pan wasn’t hot enough when I put the fish in. In the future, I’d consider adding some black beans to the salsa and combining it with even more cooked shrimp for a cold supper. My produce shop had only jalapeños, but I left in the ribs and some seeds to get enough heat. I was so happy to see perfectly ripened avocados as well as mangos at my market and thrilled to have a recipe that pulled these ingredients together so beautifully.
As summer begins to fade, and fall begins approaching, I was looking for some summer recipes to bring out before August is behind us. Enter this snapper and salsa combo. I pulled this out for a date night in, and was pleased that it was a huge hit for both of us. I used the broiler method in the recipe for the snapper, as I did not have access to a grill. I will now be using that method for cooking many kinds of fish! The salsa was refreshing, flavorful, and delivered on many levels – it was sweet, it offered heat, the avocado was buttery, and the firm texture of the shrimp was very appealing. To keep it easy, score the avocado in the shell and scoop out with a spoon. I used fresno peppers for the chiles. Resist the urge to add the whole mango – though it is tempting, the recipe as written really does have excellent balance. Season the snapper liberally, you won’t be sorry! It has a clean flavor and together, the dish is definitely crave-worthy.
Originally published May 05, 2004