Saturday, March 26, 2011
I'm expecting to create some opportunity for adventure with this project, and since snapper is available right off the shores here, I considered going out and catching it myself.
But then I saw all the citrus that was in this dish, and decided I would make this post about the acquisition of it. Which, for the most part, didn't involve putting on shoes.
Here is a picture of a grapefruit tree.
There are grapefruit in this dish. There is a grapefruit tree in my backyard, about 30 feet from my kitchen. They are pink grapefruit. We don't so much eat grapefruit, unfortunately. Unfortunate because this tree produces probably a couple hundred pounds of it a year. So whenever I see a recipe for something that might include grapefruit, I at least consider making it. So getting the grapefruit required for this dish was easy.
Here is a picture of a lemon tree.
I have been trying to grow Meyer lemon trees since we moved to Clearwater 11 years ago. I always have one or two going. Usually they die without ever giving any fruit. In 11 years, I have gotten two usable fruits from a collective four or five trees.
This tree is doing well, and is growing. So I'm hopeful. But it doesn't have any fruit on it. It was in bloom a couple weeks ago, and the backyard smelled great while it was. But now the blooms are all spent, and I don't see where any fruit has set. Grrrrr. So I got the lemons for this dish at the farmers market.
Here is a photo of an orange tree.
Note the fence between me and it. That's because it is in my neighbor's backyard. So to get the oranges for this dish, I waited for the dark of night, scaled the fence, picked the oranges and ran back to my house.
Not really. Actually, I picked a half-dozen grapefruit, walked next door, knocked and offered to trade the grapefruit for a couple oranges. They don't eat grapefruit either, but told me to go ahead back and take whatever I needed. It was such an easy transaction that I wished my neighbor had a bearing lemon tree.
Enough with the citrus. Here is a photo of a red snapper.
This red snapper was in the counter at IC Sharks, which has become my go-to fish place. I tried to go to a couple of the well-known, established places around here, and each time was stunned by the smell when I walked in. They smell like fish. A good fish store shouldn't. When I walked into IC Sharks, it smelled like there was fish smoking in the back. That is a completely acceptable smell.
So this isn't the fish I bought, because they already had filets cut in the case. I told the woman behind the counter that I needed a really, really fresh piece of fish because I was going to be serving it raw. She looked at me like I had just said that her kid was ugly. And, like, her favorite kid. "It was on the boat a couple of hours ago," she said. I took a whiff. It smelled like nothing. Exactly as it should. She took the skin off the filet for me, and I went home. Maybe next time I'll go fishing.
The rest of the produce came from the farmers market.
Putting this dish together was embarrassingly easy. A red pepper jus was just a matter of blending some peppers and straining. A jalapeno salsa requires a couple of seconds in the food processor. The citrus has to be segmented and juiced. The fish was diced in two minutes. The asparagus was on the grill for a few minutes to get a char.
Loved this dish. The key is the fish (as much as I tried to make it about the citrus). I got a great piece of fish, and it was totally worth it. It was like Italian sashimi.
Up next: san daniele, or dinner party, part I