Fried Red Snapper Caribbean-Style (Piska Hasa)
By Danielle Crittenden Frum
This simple but summery recipe for fried fish is adapted from Recipes from the Jewish Kitchens of Curacao. The book includes many homestyle Caribbean recipes from the sisterhood of Congregation Mikveh Israel Emanuel, the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, based in the island's capital of Willemstad. You can read more about Jewish Curacao here as part of FT&V's Safest Top Travel Destinations for Jews. And to fully get into the spirit, prepare our Curacao-based cocktail "Coral Splash" created by FT&V's KosherKocktail Korrespondent, Robin Tim Weis.
This snapper dish -- a Pesach favorite on the island -- is traditionally served with fried plantains, but works equally well with green vegetables, salad, and steamed rice if you're needing a carb. For Passover, swap out the bread crumbs for matzah meal, which is what's recommended in the original recipe.
Juice of 3 limes
2 finely chopped scallions
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
2 pounds red snapper fillets, skin-on
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large red or orange bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch dice
3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (canned is fine)
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/4 cup juice from canned tomatoes*
In a shallow non-metal dish, combine lime juice, scallions, garlic and salt. Cut red snapper into 4 serving pieces. Add to lime-juice marinade, turning to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove snapper from marinade and toss in bread crumbs to coat both sides.
Pour about 1/4-inch of oil into a large nonstick skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat over medium-high heat. Fry the snapper two to three minutes on each side until crisp and cooked through. (Flakes should be opaque when separated with point of a knife.) Drain on paper towels and transfer to a serving dish. Keep warm.
Add onion to the drippings in the skillet. Cook over medium heat until softened, about five minutes. Stir in bell pepper, tomatoes and cilantro, and cook until crisp-tender, two to three minutes longer. Add tomato juice and simmer until slightly thickened. Spoon over fried snapper.
*The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of ketchup, for which I substituted the tomato juice from the canned tomatoes. The ketchup may make it a bit sweeter. I didn't miss this sweetness but try adding 1/2 tsp of sugar with the tomato juice if you wish, or go with the ketchup, plus 2 tablespoons of water.