Fresh, healthy and delicious! We are proud to be part of the Big Green Egg culinary team developing and creating exciting new recipes for the season. A big thanks goes out to Second City Prime Steak and Seafood for the snapper that inspired this recipe.
The northern red snapper, often known as Caribbean snapper, is a popular game fish and is highly prized table fare. It is a readily available fish and is mild in flavor.
For this recipe, we decided to kick-up the flavor of the fish and make a Recado rojo (Red Achiote) inspired paste to rub on the fish prior to grilling. Achiote paste is a popular coloring and flavoring in Central American, Mexican, and Caribbean cuisines and is made with annatto seeds, cumin, pepper, coriander, oregano, cloves, and garlic. It adds an earthy, sweet, spicy, and slightly smokey flavor to food and can be used as a sauce, marinade, or rub for most proteins. You can purchase pre-made achiote paste (which needs to be diluted with water or broth in order to be used for cooking), or make your own homemade achiote paste which has a much better flavor. You will need a spice mill and blender; the paste will last a month stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The star ingredient, annatto seeds, are known in Mexico as achiote (pronounced ah-chee-oh-tah), and come from a tree thought to have originated in tropical South America. They have been used for centuries by people in Central and South America and the Caribbean to give a yellowish or bright red color to human skin (as in body paint), cloth, and edibles.
We didn’t have achiote seeds on hand for this dish, so we created an alternate recipe inspired by the traditional recipe. The taste is very similar and worth the effort.
The Veracruz style salsa consists of a tomato salsa that is enriched with a number of ingredients that the Spaniards brought to Mexico; which started to popularize in Mexican dishes. The salsa is prepared with typical Mexican ingredients and the ingredients that are annexed, on behalf of the Spaniards, are the olives, capers, oregano, garlic and oil. The addition of this salsa as a garnish on the grilled snapper adds an explosion of flavor.
2 Second City Snapper filets
Snapper Seasoning Paste
1 1⁄2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp white vinegar 3⁄4 tsp dried oregano 1 garlic clove, minced 1⁄4 tsp cumin
Juice of 2 limes
Splash of olive oil
Vera Cruz Salsa
1 red bell pepper
5 mini sweet peppers
2 serrano chilies
5 plum tomatoes
Olive oil for brushing the veggies Coarsely ground salt and pepper
1 cup pitted Manzanilla olives, chopped 1⁄4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp capers, drained
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp Mexican oregano
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
One day before the cook, combine all the seasoning paste ingredients in a small bowl until well blended and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Set the EGG for direct cooking without the convEGGtor at 400°F/204°C with a cast iron grate.
For the salsa, brush the peppers, chilies and tomatoes with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill until slightly charred on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes or so. Remove the skins and seeds and dice. Combine the diced peppers, tomatoes, chilies and all other ingredients in a bowl and let mixture sit at room temperature for 30 minutes allowing the flavors to meld.
Rub each side of the filet generously with the seasoning paste. Grill the fish directly on the cooking grid until the paste is nicely charred – 5-7 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 145°F (63°C). Transfer the fish to a platter, spoon salsa on top and garnish with fresh herbs.
Recipe and photos by Nancy Suttles, created exclusively for the Big Green Egg.
Achiote paste substitute recipe adapted from Epicurious.com