Cooking with Pictures: Chef John Critchley's Miami Spice Yellowtail Snapper, Part 2

Categories: Cooking Demo
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David Samayoa
Chef John Critchley of Area 31
Chef John Critchley showed guests at Whole Foods Coral Gables how to prepare some of the dishes from Area 31's Miami Spice menu recently. In an earlier post, Short Order presented Chef Critchley's watermelon salad recipe, along with step-by-step photos. Now we'll show you his preparation of Key West yellowtail snapper with red lentils and a citrus and herb reduction.

Step by step photos after the jump.

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David Samayoa
Ingredients for the yellowtail snapper with red lentils.

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Like all proteins, fish cook better if you start working with them at room temperature, says Critchley. That way the fish is dry when you set it in the pan. Critchley set the snapper out to dry while he prepared the sauce. If you're in a rush, you can also pat the fish dry with paper towels.

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David Samayoa
Prepare the sauce by pouring orange juice into a pot. Critchley poured about a couple of cups.

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David Samayoa
Add herbs to the pot: purple basil, chervil, dill, tarragon, parsley, and lemongrass.

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David Samayoa
Critchley bruised the lemongrass stalks with the back of his knife to release the aroma before adding to the pot.

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David Samayoa
Add several tablespoons of honey.

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David Samayoa
Add about 3-5 tablespoons of evaporated palm sugar, followed by a pinch of chili flakes. Simmer. You want the sauce to infuse with flavor, but don't cook it so long that it becomes bitter. Critchley suggests simmering for about 25 minutes, but use your eyes and nose as a guide.

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David Samayoa
Meanwhile, prepare the red lentils. Add them to a stock pot...

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David Samayoa
...along with at least enough vegetable broth to cover. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, just as you would with rice. They take 10-12 minutes to cook. You should taste them: when the lentils are cooked, they should have just enough give without being mushy. If there is extra liquid once they are fully cooked, you can just strain them.

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David Samayoa
To finish off the lentils, add a tablespoon or so of each: chopped garlic, chopped shallots, and minced chives. Sprinkle with salt. Also add finely chopped preserved lemons, which are whole lemons coated in salt. The chefs at Area 31 preserve their own lemons, but you can buy these at specialty markets.

Location Info

Area 31

270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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