At Canele in Atwater Village, chef Corina Weibel serves a perfectly-seared snapper fillet perched atop a striking, delicious pile of vegetables and house-made croutons -- a bread salad of sorts. It recently caught the attention of staff writer Amy Scattergood. Each fillet is seasoned with fresh herbs and lemon and orange zest. The "salad" is a vibrant display of grilled sweet Italian peppers tossed with cracked Picholine olives, cherry tomatoes, parsley, shallots and those crispy croutons, finished with a drizzle of good olive oil and red wine vinegar.
Canele's pan-seared snapper
Total time: 50 minutes, plus marinating time
Note: Adapted from a recipe by Canele chef Corina Weibel. Picholine olives can be found at Whole Foods and well-stocked markets. To make croutons, slice half-inch cubes from the inside of a baguette and saute in a pan with just enough oil to lightly coat the croutons for several minutes, tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp.
2 (5-ounce) fillets snapper, preferably barramundi
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus 1/4 cup whole parsley leaves, divided
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon juice for drizzling over the cooked fish
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 1/2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 fresh sweet Italian peppers
14 cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
8 Picholine olives, cracked and pitted
1/2 cup croutons (see Note)
2 shallots, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1. Combine the fish, thyme, chopped parsley, lemon and orange zests in a shallow nonreactive pan and rub the seasonings over the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saute pan, add 2 teaspoons of oil and saute the peppers over medium heat until tender, 8 to 10 minutes, shaking occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Remove the fish from the refrigerator; do not bother to shake off the marinade. Season each fillet with one-eighth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste.
4. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over high heat until hot and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sear the fish skin-side down for 2 to 3 minutes until the skin is crispy, then flip each fillet over and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through.
5. While the fish is cooking, combine in a medium bowl the cooled peppers, tomatoes, olives, croutons, parsley leaves and shallots. Drizzle in the red wine vinegar and olive oil and toss together as a salad. Season to taste with salt.
6. Distribute the salad evenly in a small mound on each plate. Place 1 filet on top of each mound, and drizzle each filet with a squeeze of lemon juice and a light drizzle of best-quality olive oil. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 311 calories; 33 grams protein; 27 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 9 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 50 mg. cholesterol; 538 mg. sodium.