Island Style Baked Yellowtail Snapper with Fresh Vegetables
Mile Marker 104, bayside, Key Largo
Makes 6 servings
3 pounds of fresh groper filets (or other white fish), cleaned of the blood line and cut into fingers
3 cups of Italian bread crumbs or panko for frying
Oil for frying
Mojo Marinade (can be prepared 3-4 days in advance) or if available from your grocer, you can buy premade mojo marinade in the marinade or Spanish food section of your store.
1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
1 cup Spanish olive oil
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup fresh Key lime juice (or Persian lime juice, if Key Limes are not available)
4 heads of garlic
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Prepare the mojo marinade by mashing the garlic, salt, and black pepper in a mortar or food processor. Stir in the juice allow mixture to “sit” for at least 30 minutes. In a sauce pan, heat the oil, basil, oregano, cumin and chopped onions over medium heat until the onions become soft. Remove oil from heat, cool, and add to juice mixture. Refrigerate mojo marinade after making. Add grouper fingers to mojo marinade and allow the fingers to marinate in the refrigerator for not longer than 2 hours, or until the outside of the fish fingers begins to turn white, as the citrus in the marinade will begin to “cook” the fish. Remove grouper fingers from mojo and dredge in bread crumbs. Place battered fingers into the refrigerator and fish filets to “rest” for at least 30 minutes before frying, so the batter can “set.” Heat frying oil in sauté pan on medium high heat until oil is approximately 350 F (make sure oil is hot, but do not allow it to burn). Place fish fingers in oil and cook for 3-4 minutes, until fish fingers are white and flakey throughout. Remove fingers from oil and drain on paper towels (a brown paper bag, lined with paper towels works great for this). Serve fish fingers with Key limes and tartar sauce!
Bobby Stoky, chef and cookbook author is the proprietor of many Upper Keys restaurants.