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Grilled red snapper | vinaigrette, fennel salad and quinoa

Grilled red snapper | vinaigrette, fennel salad and quinoa


4-5 lb (approx. 2kg) snapper or other whole white fish
1 small red onion or large shallot
1 bulb of fennel
1 cup (170g) quinoa
2 lemons
olive oil
nonstick spray
fresh thyme or other herb for garnish

Make sure your fish is gutted, scaled and has the fins removed.

To brine the fish, pour out enough water to submerge the fish and stir in approx. 5% salt by weight, along with some sugar and other seasonings if you want. Small fish will brine in as little as a half hour, but large fish need at least a couple hours.

Cut the onion in half, peel, and slice as thinly as you can. Put most of the slices in a salad bowl, but reserve a few of them and mince them fine for the salad dressing. Zest and juice the lemons, both for the salad dressing. Stir in a big spoonful or two of mustard, salt, pepper and sugar to taste, and 1-2 parts olive oil per parts lemon juice.

Chop up the fennel fronds and put them in with the dressing. Thinly slice the bulb and put those slices in the salad bowl. Dress the salad with as much of the dressing as you want as far in advance as possible (I used about a third of mine) and reserve the remaining dressing.

Thinly slice the fennel stalks and get them softening in a little olive oil. Rinse the quinoa, if it didn’t come pre-rinsed. When the stalks are looking soft, stir in the dry/drained quinoa and let it toast for a minute in the hot pan. Stir in 1.5 parts water to 1 part quinoa by volume, along with an optional pinch of salt to taste, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed about 15 minutes.

When the quinoa is done, you can just keep it warm until dinner. Consider stirring in a couple spoonfuls of the dressing.

After the fish has brined, drain it and pat dry. Flavor the inside and outside of the fish generously with some of the salad dressing. Either roast uncovered in a very hot oven, or take outside to the grill. I refuse to be responsible for grill mistakes, so watch the video if you want to see my technique.

Serve fish with salad and quinoa on the side, along with any remaining dressing.