New kitchen and a new post: Baked Red Snapper with Salt & Vinegar Chips Crust

I should change my name to Procrastinator. Seriously. If procrastination was an Olympic sport, India would get a gold :P .

My last post was almost a year back. One whole year! That’s how long I can keep putting something off. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking or trying out new tricks. Did a lot of that. I photographed most of it. Even started writing about a few of them. But something or the other kept me from finishing them. In most cases it was plain old laziness! 

Anyhoo, here I am. Back from hibernation. A lot has happened in this past year, the highlight of that being moving to a new place. The kitchen at the new place is much smaller than the last flat. Almost 1/4th the size of my earlier kitchen.  Given that even the earlier kitchen could barely contain all the cooking related stuff I obsessively keep buying, fitting everything in this tiny one has been a nightmare. I still haven’t unpacked a couple of boxes cause there is no more space! In short, I am not happy with this kitchen. Not one little bit!

To add to this, just as I was starting to get used to the kitchen, cooking gas ran out. I had to go through an elaborate and long process of transferring my LPG account from one branch to the other. I didn’t have gas for almost 3 weeks! A friend was generous enough to lend me his induction cooker but it turned out that I had exactly one pot with the induction base. Tra la la la. All these meant that cooking was severely limited since I have moved to the new flat.

But this post is not all about me ranting and whining about my woes (at least not all of it). There is a silver lining there. And that is my tiny OTG. My former roomie left it for me when she moved out and I hadn’t really used it for the longest time. Finally last December I inaugurated it with a lovely Mandarin Cake. I have been baking cookies and brownies on and off but this current lack of other options made me use it quite a bit.

The chaos that was my kitchen at that time also forced me to be innovative while cooking. Like when I got this beautiful filet of Red Snapper and decided to make baked fish. At the last moment I couldn’t find the can of breadcrumbs that I could have sworn I had seen earlier that day!  

Now, when am frustrated, I eat junk and that’s exactly what I did. Earlier that day I picked up a can of Salt & Vinegar Pringles. I first got introduced to this flavor of chips by my Australian ex roomie (yes, the same one who left me the oven, so thank you Andrea!) and loved the sharp salty and tanginess. Unfortunately for the longest time I couldn’t get that flavor here in Bombay apart from the overpriced imported ones.  So when I saw that Pringles India has come out with the flavor I had to pick it up.

So yeah, that’s what I was angrily munching away when suddenly it dawned on me. I looked down at the chips and thought why not? That can be the crust of my baked fish!  It can add both an interesting texture and the unusual flavor element.  And that, my friends, is how Baked Red Snapper with Salt & Vinegar Chips Crust came about. 

Ok, I will stop babbling now and go straight to the recipe.  Here is a list of ingredients I used:

·      A filet of Red Snapper, around 300gms
·      Salt & Vinegar chips. Crushed, ½ cup
·      4 Tbsp of butter, melted
·      Finely chopped coriander leaves, ½ cup
·      Paprika
·      Salt
·      Pepper
·      1 Lemon, zested and juiced
·      Garlic Confit

The filet I got was boneless.  But it’s always a good idea to look out for stray bones and scales while cleaning it.  And sure enough there were a couple of big bad boys hiding there, which I took out very carefully trying my best not to mangle the beautiful fish. Then I melted the butter in the microwave. I brushed both sides of the filet with the butter and sprinkled salt, pepper and paprika and put the fish on a baking tray skin side down.

In a bowl I mixed together half a cup of crushed Salt & Vinegar chips and equal amount of finely chopped coriander leaves, lemon zest, the rest of the melted butter and paprika. I didn’t add any salt to this because the chips was already high on salt content.  I spread this mixture evenly over the fish.

 The Garlic Confit came as an after thought. I had made it a few days back and was looking for an opportunity to use it. So I decided to add a few spoonfuls around the fish along with the juice of 1 lemon.  It helped keep the fish moist and added loads of flavor.

Then I baked the fish at 200° for about 8 minutes, until fish was no longer translucent.

And voila!

The fish turned out to be fantastic, even if I say so myself. The slight kick of vinegar crunchy topping went wonderfully with the clean taste of the perfectly flaky fish. And the garlic, ohmegawd, the caremelised sweet intense flavor of the garlic!

I served the fish with sides of steamed veggies and of course bread to mop up that delicious sauce.

This is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for fish from now on. I would also be fun to experiment with different flavors of chips and herbs and find out which combination is the best.