Posts Tagged ‘cooking with spirits’

Red Snapper Meuniere

May 27, 2009

meunierWhen 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


  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add oil and butter and heat until bubbly.
  2. Mix flour, salt, pepper, and tarragon in a flat pan or plate.  Dredge fish fillets lightly, shake excess flour off, and place in skillet.
  3. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and fish flakes with a fork.  Remove from pan to a plate. 
  4. Add wine to deglaze pan, scraping up brown bits, add lemon juice and swirl.   Add butter and Tabasco, swirl until creamy.
  5. Pour sauce over fish fillets.  Garnish with lemon slices, capers or parsley sprigs.

Marguerita Pound Cake

May 3, 2009

pound-cakeIf you love pound cake and margueritas you’ll savor this marriage.  The pound cake recipe is a classic from Sunset Cookbook published in the 90s and the margueritas glaze is myown creation.  Cooking with wine, liqueurs, and liquor adds a whole different dimension to taste enhancement.  A little white wine in soups, a little Kahlua in the marinade, a little gin in the stew and the ordinary becomes extrordinary, not to mention the tenderizing benefits.

Shortly after returning from the South Pacific I had a slice of Starbuck’s lime crumb cake with a tall double latte.  It was impressive, though the latte left much to be desired, with a genuine lime perfume when whiffed and lime flavor on the tongue.  I think this  marguerita pound cake with its heady lime perfume and glaze outshines even Starbuck’s cake.

Pound Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 5 large limes)
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract (Mexican if available)

Marguerita Glaze – makes 1 cup

  • 2 shots tequila
  • 2 shots triple-sec (or Cointreau, or Orange Curacao)
  • 4 shots lime juice (or Roses of Lime)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Grease and flour standard 9X5X3 loaf pan.  Mix flour with baking powder and set aside.  Cream sugar, butter, and eggs.  Beat in flour alternately with milk just until all is incorporated.  Whisk in lime juice and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pan, bake 90 minutes or until it tests done.  Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan, prick top and sides of cake with a wooden skewer.  To make glaze:  boil sugar, lime juice, tequila, and triple-sec in a small sauce pan for 1 minute to dissolve sugar and cook off alcohol.  Pour 1/2 of the glaze over the warm cake.  When glaze is cool, reheat remaining glaze just to pouring consistency and reglaze.  Cool completely before serving.  Serve with a sorbet and your favorite coffee drink.