Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pan Roasted Snapper & Butternut Squash Purée

Healthy and delicious, this easy Pan Roasted Red Snapper & Butternut Squash Purée is low-fat, low-carb, and can be prepared in less than an hour. One of my favourite fish, red snapper has a delicate flavour and firm texture, perfect for sautéeing over high heat — to crisp the skin — and finishing off in the oven until it's moist and flakey. Nestled on a puddle of saffron coloured buttery squash purée and garnished with a drizzle of homemade pesto or sautéed spring vegetables, makes this dish an attractively simple entrée for even the most discerning of dinner guests. Best yet — both the squash and pesto can be made well ahead of time, so you have more time to spend time enjoying a glass of wine with friends, and less time in the kitchen.

Pan Roasted Snapper & Butternut Squash Purée
Serves 4

4 red snapper filets, skin on
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
parsley sprigs and lemon or lime slices for garnish

Butternut Squash Purée:
1 medium butternut squash
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp maple syrup

Basil Pesto: (optional)
1 bunch fresh basil, washed and pat dry
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
Maldon salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Pour the nuts into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the garlic and basil leaves and process until blended. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Peel the squash, cut in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes and steam until tender. Place steamed squash and all other ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the purée into a saucepan, cover and keep warm.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Using a small sharp knife, lightly score the skin of the snapper diagonally with three light incisions, to prevent curling. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a non-stick stainless sauté pan over high heat and add the oil and butter. Once the butter has melted and the oil starts to ripple, lay the filets in the pan skin-side down, and cook for 2 minutes or until the skin starts to color. Using a spatula, delicately turn the filets over and cook another minute. Season with a sprinkle of Maldon salt. Place the pan in the oven and roast about 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets.

To serve, place a spoonful of squash purée in the middle of each warmed dinner bowl or plate. Top with the snapper filets, skin side up, and garnish with a drizzle of Basil Pest around the dish. Top with a sprig of parsley and a wedge of fresh lemon or lime. Serve immediately.

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