When you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific fish is paramount to your diet. There are relatively few cases of grouchy teenage syndrome, behavioral and learning problems among youngsters and life expectancy is above average for the adult population. The indigenous diet is full of veggies, fruit, fish and coconut in every form. Its probably a contributing factor to the high number of PhD’s per capita among the Tongan populace. Unfortunately, this results in a brain-drain of the islands as the educated migrate to mainland countries. However, they do return to the islands for retirement.
One of the most popular main courses served at my restaurant, Coco’s, was red snapper meuniere. Lightly dredged in flour, pan fried in butter and olive oil, and dressed in a aromatic lemon sauce with hints of tarragon and chili sauce for sparkle. Side dishes included a choice of yellow coconut rice or baked potato and ratatouille. Nothing compares to a fresh caught fish for flavor and nutrition. The American Heart Association recommends 3 servings of fish per week so try this dish one night soon.
- 1 lb. fresh red snapper fillets (or cod, white fish, or tilapia)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- pinch of tarragon
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- splash of white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp butter
- dash or two of Tabasco sauce
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and butter and heat until bubbly.
- Mix flour, salt, pepper, and tarragon in a flat pan or plate. Dredge fish fillets lightly, shake excess flour off, and place in skillet.
- Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and fish flakes with a fork. Remove from pan to a plate.
- Add wine to deglaze pan, scraping up brown bits, add lemon juice and swirl. Add butter and Tabasco, swirl until creamy.
- Pour sauce over fish fillets. Garnish with lemon slices, capers or parsley sprigs.