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Red Snapper with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Basil

August 19, 2010

I joined the library a couple of weeks ago and it didn’t dawn on me that libraries might have cookbooks until I

hake with chickpeas and tomatoes

ran right into them in the non-fiction section.  There were an excessive number of Rachel Ray cookbooks, but two did pop out at me.  One of those was “Eating the Greek Way,” by Fedon Alexander Lindberg.  It’s a healthy lifestyle cookbook, but the recipes looked great, meaning the flavor and ingredients weren’t dumbed down.  I have already made a few dishes from it and plan to make a few more.  The first one I made got rave reviews from Greg, probably because it’s tomato-based.  The flavors are very simple, but it’s nice and filling because of the chickpeas.  It could be a one-dish meal, but I added some sauteed spinach on the side.  The recipe calls for red snapper, but it’s often one of the pricier fish at the farmer’s market.  Hake was in season and priced low, so I substituted that, but any firm white fish will work.  Serves 4.

Ingredients:

4 red snapper fillets (or other firm white fish like hake, grouper, cod or tilapia)

2 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch red pepper flakes

2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 28 oz can whole Italian plum tomatoes

2 t tomato paste

1 t balsamic vinegar

1 T chopped fresh thyme

pinch sugar, if needed

3 T chopped fresh basil

2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions:

Rinse fish and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and chickpeas and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their juices and the tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer on low heat for 4-5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Place fish skin side down (if there is skin) and cook for 4 minutes, or until fish readily releases from the bottom of the pan and appears mostly cooked.  Flip and finish cooking through, about 2 more minutes.

Stir the basil into the tomato chickpea mixture and spoon onto plates.  Top with fish fillet, then sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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