Monday, March 23, 2009

Synagrida me Estragon sto Fourno -- Red Snapper Baked with Tarragon

Synagrida (Greek for red snapper) is my favorite fish. I love its tender meat and its versatility as it can easily be grilled, baked or broiled whole and paired with virtually any sauce or flavoring.

Simply grilled and then dressed with ladolemono (olive oil-lemon sauce) is probably my favorite way to enjoy this red-fleshed fish when eating at a taverna, but at home I like to prepare it either plaki or baked then broiled with different herbs, lemon juice and olive oil surrounded by thinly-sliced potatoes for a tasty and healthy one-pan meal.

Having bought some fresh tarragon from the market the other day, I was curious to see how the herb would pair with our fresh snapper (usually dried Greek oregano is the star of the show). The verdict: the aroma of the fish baking away enveloped in foil, with fresh tarragon tucked in its cavity and lemon slices layered atop its red flesh, was--how should I put it--intoxicating.

Oh, and when my two year old son saw me setting the platter out to snap a couple of shots he began running laps (victory laps perhaps?) around the table emphatically declaring, "Mmmm, good Mama!" Not to mention that he and his sister asked for seconds and my husband, well, he was licking his fingers ... literally.

(I served the fish with some asparagus, which I simply roasted drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven until tender.)

Synagrida me Estragon sto Fourno --
Baked Red Snapper with Tarragon

1 whole red snapper (about 2.5 lbs.), cleaned
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, halved; one lemon half left in tact and the other sliced thin
4 sprigs fresh tarragon
Couple pinches of dried Greek oregano
1/3 cup olive oil
3 potatoes, scrubbed and peeled then sliced into fairly thin rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with plenty of foil, allowing the foil to overhang the baking sheet so that it may be sealed over the fish later. Pour about two tablespoons of oil in the center and sprinkle with some salt, pepper, 1/4 of the garlic and a bit of the oregano.

Place fish in the center of foil atop the seasoned olive oil. Season the cavity of the fish with 3/4 of the remaining garlic, juice from the lemon half, salt, pepper and a pinch of the oregano then place two of the tarragon sprigs inside and sprinkle with a little olive oil as well.

Drizzle remaining olive oil over the outside of the fish. Season with the remaining garlic, oregano, salt and pepper then top with the lemon slices and the two sprigs of tarragon. Arrange potato slices around the fish and sprinkle the potatoes with salt, pepper and oregano. Spoon some of the olive oil in the baking sheet over the potatoes then fold edges of foil over fish and seal.

Bake for about 30 minutes then open the foil, remove the lemon slices and tarragon from atop the fish and place the baking sheet under the broiler until the potatoes and fish get some slight color, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.


Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Te red snapper looks amazing! Great photos. I'll have to try this out. Thanks my friend.

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

I def need to eat more fish! This looks absolutely wonderful Maria...perfectly accompanied by the asparagus.

Peter M said...

Maria, nice pairing of the fish with tarragon...a natural pair.

A fish should be simply prepared...allow the fish's taste to come here.

Shopaholic said...

What a lovely fish dish! I should try to use tarragon more often too. Seems asparagus is in season???

Ivy said...

The dish sounds delicious Maria. I've only tried dried tarragon but I can only imagine how wonderful the fresh one must be.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Red Snapper is not as common around here bit I will keep a look our for it for sure. I know it is delicious!!