Fish in Wine Sauce With Potatoes

  • Rob Stewart adds vermouth to sauteed snapper fillets to get a quick sauce going. The Bordeaux-style dish fits perfectly into a summer menu.

    Rob Stewart adds vermouth to sauteed snapper fillets to get a quick sauce going. The Bordeaux-style dish fits perfectly into a summer menu. Sarah L. Voisin/Washington Post

 
Updated 7/12/2011 1:41 PM

1 pounds skin-on snapper fillets (may substitute rockfish or sea bass)

Sea salt

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons dry vermouth

3 tablespoons minced shallots (from 1 or 2 shallots)

2-3 tablespoons no-salt-added or homemade chicken or mixed-poultry broth

cup peeled, cooked red- or purple-fleshed potatoes, cut into -inch dice

medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Freshly ground mixed peppercorns

Pat the fillets dry on both sides. If desired, use a knife to score the skin; that will help prevent the fillets from curling as they cook. Season lightly on both sides with salt.

Lightly coat the fish with flour on both sides, gently shaking to remove any excess flour.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cook until the butter has melted and has just begun to turn brown.

Gently add 2 or 3 of the fillets, skin side up, to the skillet, being careful not to crowd them. (Work in batches as needed.) Cook for 2-4 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish), developing a lightly browned crust, then turn over the fillets and cook for 2-4 minutes on the second side. The fish should be barely firm when lightly pressed.

Just before the last of the fish is done, carefully pour in the vermouth, then evenly scatter the shallots around the fish. Use a wooden spatula to dislodge any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Transfer the fillets to a warmed platter.

Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet and enough broth (as needed) to create a base for a sauce. Add the cubed, cooked potatoes and diced red bell pepper; reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and cook for a few minutes, stirring, so that the liquid is barely bubbling and the vegetables become fragrant. Stir in the herbs and remove from the heat.

Pour the vegetables and sauce evenly over the fish fillets. Season lightly with a few grinds of the mixed peppercorns. Serve hot.

Serves four.

Cook's note: Serve with a Sancerre, such as Domaine Michel Thomas Sancerre 2009, or a white graves, such as Pessac-Leognan.

@Recipe nutrition:Nutrition values per serving: 330 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated), 10 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 36 g protein, 85 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium.

Rob Stewart of Arlington, Va.