Posts Tagged ‘fish recipes’

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.

Fish and Yam Fritters From Tonga

May 7, 2009

fish-frittersFish cakes and fritters are very popular in the South Pacific.  Tongans usually add yam (ufi) or sweet potato (kumala) to the poached fish.  Any kind of fresh fish will do:  halibut, whitefish, cod, sole, snapper, or tuna.  Tongan homemakers prepare fritters with leftovers from sashimi or coconut cooked fish, and you can buy them fresh made at the local Farmer’s Market (Talamahu).  I made lots of potato pancakes from ufi (pronounced oo-fee), a local root of the yam family that grows up to 6 feet in length and is prized among Tongans for gift-giving.  At the annual celebration of the King’s birthday, a ceremony is conducted where the village chiefs count the number of ufi presented to the King.  The sound off of numbers in Tongan is very loud and dramatic… taaaa ‘ha (one), uuuuu ‘a (two)… ten is an impressive number (hungafu’lo).  The King’s palace keeps some of the ufi and the Queen distributes the rest to the villagers, the prison and  homes for the disabled.  Tonga is one of the last monarchies in the world.  It’s located southeast of Fiji in the sub-tropical zone of the South Pacific.  It’s also the hub of Polynesia with beautiful tall coconut tanned people.

For this recipe you can use American yam or potatoes.  Serve with a lemon-aioli, tartar sauce, mango chutney, raita, or fresh chipotle salsa.


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh fish fillets
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp white pepper, divided
  • 1 cup flat beer
  • 2 1/2 cups yam or potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • oil for deep frying


Simmer the fish with onion, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and beer until the fish flakes (about 20 minutes).  Drain and flake with a fork.  Beat the mashed yam or potato with the half-and-half, remaining salt, and pepper until fluffy.  Blend in the flaked fish, roll into 2-inch balls and dust with flour.  Deep-fry in hot oil (375° F.) until golden brown.  Drain on a rack over paper to catch the drips.  Serve warm with parsley garnish and lemon wedges.