Roasted Red Snapper With Fresh Green Chili Cilantro Pesto


Roasted red snapper with fresh green chili cilantro pesto
You can substitute any other whole firm-fleshed fresh fish. The pesto can be made ahead, making this a good dish for entertaining. This recipe will feed four when served with rice and a vegetable dish.


         2½ lbs (1 to 1.25 kg), cleaned and scaled; ½ cup (125 ml) fresh lime juice.

         ½ teaspoon grated lime zest; 2 tablespoons oil.

         Salt, to taste; 1 cup (180 g) Green Chili Cilantro.

         Pesto, plus extra for serving (recipe follows)recipe will feed four when served with rice and a vegetable dish.

Green Chili Cilantro Pesto

         2 cups (80 g) chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro).

         6 fresh green chili peppers, deseeded and minced.

         1 tablespoon minced garlic; 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger.

         2 tablespoons water; 1 cup (100 g) fresh or frozen grated coconut.

         1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground.

         3 tablespoons fresh lime juice; 1 teaspoon sugar.

         Salt, to taste.


Step 1: 
To make the Green Chili Cilantro Pesto, place the fresh coriander, chili peppers, garlic, ginger and water in a food processor and process to a paste. Add the coconut and process to incorporate. Transfer to a bowl. Add the coarsely ground cumin. 

Step 2: 
Stir in the lime juice, sugar and salt. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. The pesto can be refrigerated for about 4 days in a well-sealed container. 

Step 3: 
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Score the skin of the fish in a diamond pattern. Combine the lime juice, lime zest, 1 tablespoon of the oil and salt in a shallow pan. Place the fish in the pan and rub it all over with the lime mixture. 

Step 4:
Rub 1 cup of the pesto mixture into the slits and put the remainder in the fish’s cavity. Lay the fish on the sheet of aluminum foil, pour the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over the fish and spread it evenly over the top of the fish.  Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Wrap the aluminum foil fairly tightly around the fish: Use another piece of foil if necessary to ensure that the package is well sealed. Place it in the prepared baking dish.

Step 5:
Bake for about 30 minutes; the exact cooking time will depend on the size of the fish. To test, peel back the foil a little and press on the flesh at the thickest part of the fish. It should yield a little and feel soft. You can also unwrap more of the fish and test with a fork: if it flakes, it’s cooked. 

Step 6:
Serve the fish warm on a platter, with extra pesto alongside as a condiment. Serve by lifting sections of the top fillet of the bone; when the first side is finished, flip the fish over to serve the second fillet. Drizzle all excess pan juices on top of the fish.

Food: Roasted Red Snapper With Fresh Green Chili Cilantro Pesto

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