Seared Red Snapper with Sicilian Cauliflower and Parsley Salad

1 hr 29 minsTotal Time


Mise En Place for the Cauliflower

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Onions Cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Sliced thin
  • 1 28-Oz Can of Italian Plum Tomatoes Passed through a food mill
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower Coarsely chopped
  • Grated Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon Juice reserved for the salad
  • 1/4 Cup Gaeta or Kalamata Olives Slivered
  • 1/4 Cup Cranberries Sliced into thin rounds

Seared Red Snapper with Sicilian Cauliflower and Parsley Salad

  • 4 6-8-Oz Red Snapper Fillets with Skin
  • Kosher Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Leaves From 1 Bunch of Fresh Italian Parsley
  • Big Fat Finishing Oil




1.    Coat a large saucepan with olive oil, add the onions, and bring to medium heat. Add a generous pinch of salt and the red pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ¾ cup water; season with salt. Bring the mixture to a boil (BTB), reduce to a simmer (RTS), and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste it and make sure it's delicious.

2.    Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt; it should taste like the ocean. Add the cauliflower, let the water come back to a rolling boil, and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until it's really soft and almost falling apart.

3.    Strain the cauliflower and add it to the tomato mixture. Cook everything for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the cauliflower has completely broken up and the sauce clings to it.

4.    Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Stir in the lemon zest, olives, and caperberries;

remove from the heat and reserve. (This can all totally be done ahead of time, and while it's really great when made to order, this dish actually gets better when made ahead.)


1.    Take the fish out of the fridge 10 to 15 minutes before you're ready to cook. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt.

2.    Coat a large sauté pan generously with olive oil and bring it to high heat, almost smoking. Coat the UNDERNEATH of another smaller sauté pan with olive oil. Place the fish fillets skin side down in the larger sauté pan and gently place the other sauté pan directly on top of the fish. The purpose of this is to gently press the skin of the fish onto the bottom of the larger pan to create a lovely, even, crispy skin. (The first thing fish skin wants to do is stick to the pan, and the first thing cooks want to do is move it. Resist the urge; it will unstick itself when it's ready. This is where patience comes in-if you try to move it before it's ready, the fish skin will win every time.)

3.    After a couple minutes, remove the top sauté pan to allow the steam to escape and the skin to get really crispy. As the fish cooks it turns from translucent to opaque - the idea is to cook the fish two-thirds of the way on the skin side and then flip it over for the last third of the cooking time. The rule for fish is 7 to 8 minutes per inch of thickness, a little less if you like your fish on the rare side.

4.    Reheat the cauliflower mixture if necessary. In a medium bowl, toss the parsley with the lemon juice, some salt, and a drizzle of finishing oil. Serve the fish nestled in a mound of the cauliflower and garnish with the parsley salad.