Hot and Hot Fish Club: A Celebration of Food, Family & Tradition by Chris Hastings and Idie Hastings, Stylist Chris Hastings (Running Press, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the Food Photography and Styling category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide.
Gorgeous photos and a wonderful design abound in Hot and Hot Fish Club - just look at that fish popping out at you!
And despite the 'fish club' in the title, you'll also find a lot more than fish recipes. You'll learn about Birmingham Alabama's Hot and Hot Fish Club Restaurant, a devotion to local and seasonal food and how the Hastings' family keeps their mantra of "food is magic" alive. Beyond the stories, you'll find recipes for every season and every aspect of a meal from start to finish, including Southern cocktails and, of course, fish recipes.
While I admit I picked the snapper recipe to highlight the wonderful photography and styling for which this book is nominated, I also picked this recipe because the prospect of this whole-roasted snapper on a bed of vegetables with croutons is pretty darn irresistible - don't you think?
Whole-Roasted Mingo Snapper on Pipérade with Herb Croutons
From Hot and Hot Fish Club: A Celebration of Food, Family & Tradition by Chris Hastings and Idie Hastings, Stylist Chris Hastings (Running Press, 2009)
Mingo, also known as Vermilion Snapper, is a smaller, shallow water fish. The true American red snapper is much larger and is a deep water fish. While they share a similar flavor, the mingo snapper is lighter and flakier.
Yield: 6 servings
- 6 (12 to 16-ounce) whole Mingo snappers, fins trimmed, gills removed, cleaned, and scaled
- 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
- 36 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6 1/2 cups)
- 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares (about 2 cups)
- 2 large yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares (about 2 cups)
- 2 poblano peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups seeded and diced Roma tomatoes
- 1 cup assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes, such as red, sungold, and purple cherry, halved
- 1 cup verjus or dry white wine
- 2 fresh basil sprigs
- 3 tablespoons Lemon Oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 1/2 cups Herb Croutons
Rinse the snappers under cold, running water, and pat both the inside and out with paper towels until dry. Season the inside cavity of each fish with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Stuff each cavity with 3 to 4 lemon slices, 6 sprigs of thyme and 3 tablespoons roughly chopped basil. Refrigerate stuffed snappers until ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Melt 1/2 cup of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil in a large rondeau or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute, being careful not to let the garlic get too brown. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the peppers and cook until slightly softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the Roma and cherry tomatoes, verjus, and basil sprigs, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 3 minutes. Season the vegetables with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and remove from the heat.
Divide the pepper mixture evenly between two (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes. Arrange 3 stuffed snappers in each baking dish on top of the pepper mixture. Bake the fish for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the snappers from the baking dish. Stir together the lemon oil, remaining tablespoon of butter, parsley, basil, and chives and add to the cooked pepper and tomato mixture. Spoon 1 cup of the pipérade onto each of six plates. Place one fish on each mound of pipérade and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the herb croutons. Serve immediately.
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