Monday, August 16, 2010

Red Snapper with Butter and Shallot Sauce

        The Silver Palate was an iconic and tiny little take-out shop that opened on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1979.  It was the brainchild of two women: Julie Russo and Sheila Lukins.  Two years earlier, Lukins, divorced from her husband and mother to two small children, had set up a catering operation in her apartment.  She lived in New York’s famed “Dakota”,  home to Lauren Bacall, Rex Reed and most famously and tragically, John Lennon who was assassinated outside its front door in 1980.

       When the women opened their 156 square foot space at 73 rd Streetand Amsterdam Avenue, the Upper West Side was just emerging from its Wild West period.  Then, you had to decide which block to walk, so great was the drug scourge that marred the neighborhood.   How sketchy things were is almost impossible to imagine today.  Very expensive and increasingly chic, the West Side is now, on average, more expensive than the fabled Upper East Side neighborhood just across town. The Silver Palate arrived at the dawn of a new age in more ways than one. 

      Working women flocked to the shop for adventurous take-out like Moroccan chicken pies and gazpacho.  Its owners pioneered recipes like Ratatouille and even made their own Raspberry Vinegar.  Then came  “The Silver Palate Cookbook” , a stand-out for its inventive and easy to follow recipes.  Purchased by over two and half million people it celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2007 with a full color edition that’s a joy to read and to use.   All of which is a very long way round to get to today’s post for Red Snapper.

Recipe for Red Snapper with Butter and Shallot Sauce from the Silver Palate Cookbook

1/3 c raspberry vinegar

2 tbsp finely minced shallots

4 red snapper fillets, 3/4 pound each

1/3 c fish stock

1/3 cup dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 pound chilled sweet butter, (1 stick) cut into small pieces

2 tbsp creme fraiche  (You can make your own by adding 1 tbsp of heavy cream to 1 tbsp of Sour Cream)

4 cups raw baby spinach
Preheat oven to 400
Combine vinegar and shallots in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat slightly and simmer until vinegar is reduced to about 2 tbsp. Set aside.
Arrange snapper filets in a shallow baking dish just large enough to
hold them without overlapping. Pour the fish stock and wine over the fillets and season with salt and pepper. Set dish on middle rack of the oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Fish should be just slightly underdone as it will continue to cook due to residual heat. Cover with foil and keep warm.
Heat the vinegar and shallot mixture and over very low heat, whisk in the chilled butter bit by bit, always adding another piece before the preceding piece is completely absorbed. The sauce will mount and become creamy and glossy. Remove sauce from heat, whisk in the creme fraiche and set the sauce aside, covered.
Divide the spinach equally between 4 plates. Using a spatula, transfer a fillet to each plate, centering it on the spinach. Spoon the raspberry butter sauce  over the fish and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

1 comment:

  1. This meal is delicious! It is a must try.

    Andrew's sister, Lauren