Late season harvest tomatoes are at their peak at this time of year. Cheap and plentiful. Sweet. Juicy. Full of flavour. I picked up punnets of perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes at the market this morning. I love to eat seasonally and these happen to be one of the key ingredients for another of my favourite fish dishes. Sweet succulent snapper fillets. Seared to perfection. Simmered in a gorgeous Provençal sauce. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives, herbs and white wine. Redolent of the flavours of the sunny South of France. This recipe needs no other introduction. The pictures speak for themselves.
Seared Snapper with Provençal Sauce
4 snapper fillets, weighing 200 g each, skin on and pin boned
1/2 cup olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed with salt
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup pitted olives
2 punnets cherry tomatoes (scored, plunged in boiling water and peeled)
4 sprigs of thyme
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves to serve
HEAT one tablespoon of oil in a heavy base cast iron style fry pan. I prefer Le Creuset.
SCORE the skin side of the fish to allow even heat distribution and crisping of the skin. Season the fillets skin side only with a liberal sprinkling of sea salt.
ADD the fish fillets to the pan skin side down in two batches. Sear on high heat for 3 – 5 minutes skin side only until skin is crisp.
REMOVE the half-cooked fish to a plate. Cover loosely with tin foil to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.
REDUCE heat to medium. Add half the remaining oil to the pan. Add onions and sauté until soft and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
DE-GLAZE the pan with wine. Add the remaining olive oil, pitted olives, thyme and peeled tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
RETURN the fish, to the pan flesh side down. Baste the fish with the sauce and simmer for a further 3 or so minutes or until fish is cooked through.
GARNISH with fresh basil leaves. Serve with fresh crusty bread and a green salad.