Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spiced Yellow Eye Snapper Soup

Quickies: Morning, Noon, & Night Challenge update:  We are down to 2 days.  All entries must be submitted by June 7, 2010.  It's not too late to join in.  There are 2 prizes up for grabs.

Welcome to Lazaro Actually Cooks Saturday

Spiced Yellow Eye Snapper Soup

This soup has a terrific intensity of flavor. The broth is spiced but is not spicy per se. I am kind of a lightweight these days when it comes to spicy food. The older I get my stomach says NO! With that in mind, you can amp up the chilies and take it to another level of heat.

Yellow Eye snapper is abundant around Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. A good friend brought me back some two pound, oil free, Yellow Eyes from a recent fishing trip to the Florida Keys. In keeping with my theme of avoiding waste, every piece of the fish is used. Pan-roasted sea scallops provide a sweet partnership with the spiced soup.

Eating the skin of fish is a wonderful treat. Steamed its quite difficult to eat for the novice, but crispy it's great. The key to crisping the skin is removing as much moisture from the skin as possible. Skin that is too moist will take longer to crisp and overcook the flesh. A great tip is to take the back of a knife and gently squeegee the skin.  Thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes serve as a perfect pedestal to keep your crispy skin out of the soup.

Thanks to Natasha's Basil Emulsion, I was inspired to create a tarragon emulsion to crown the scallop.

For the broth:
3 tbs grape seed oil
1 onion - minced
1 leek – (white and light green parts only) – small dice
2 celery stalks – chopped
1 lb Campari tomatoes – (peeled, seeded & chopped)
½ tsp Birds eye chilies
Handful of fresh cilantro – (stalks & leaves)
1 tbs fresh chopped savory
1 cup white wine
Yellow Eye Snapper head, bones, & trimmings
Spanish saffron strands
Sea salt & black pepper

1 Yukon Gold potato - (thinly sliced on the mandoline)

-  Heat the oil in a large sauce pot over medium-high heat.

- Add the onion, leek, & celery. Cook for 6 minutes to soften.

- Season with sea salt & black pepper

- Deglaze with the wine. Reduce until almost dry

- Add the tomatoes, cilantro, chilies, spices, savory& snapper bits

- Pour enough water to cover. Simmer gently for 45 minutes

- Remove the snapper heads & bones.

- Add the Yukon Gold potatoes.  Cook for 7 minutes.

- Remove the potatoes with a spider straner

- Blitz in a blender.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer

- Check for seasoning. Season with salt & pepper if needed.

For the Yellow Eye Snapper fillets & sea scallops:
8 – 1 ½ inch pieces of Yellow Eye Snapper fillets – skin-on
4 – 20/30 ct sea scallops
Olive oil
Sea salt & white pepper
1 tbs unsalted butter

- Remove the seafood 30 minutes from the fridge before cooking

- Pat dry the snapper skin

- Heat 1/8 inch olive oil in a large skillet.  Season the fish with sea salt & white pepper

- Add the snapper fillets skin side down.  Hold down the pieces with a fish spatula for 15 seconds

- Cook for 2 minutes

- Gently turn over and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove to a rack to rest SKIN SIDE UP!

- Add the butter to the pan

- Season the scallops with sea salt & white pepper

- Cook for 1 minute on each side

- Remove to the rack to rest

For the Tarragon Emulsion:
1 cup fresh tarragon
1 tsp organic honey
1 tsp Meyer lemon juice
½ cup walnut oil
Fleur de sel

- Place tarragon, lemon juice, honey, & half the oil, in a blender

- Blend to mix

- Pour the rest of the oil in a slow steady stream and process until thick

- Season with fleur de sel

Yukon Gold Pedestal

To Plate:

- Stack some of the reserved potatoes to make the pedestal

- Top with the sea scallop and roasted snapper fillet

- Place a dollop of tarragon emulsion on the scallop

- Gently pour the broth.

- Garnish with fresh chervil

Here you go...T

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. The soup is outstanding! I can just imagine the wonderful flavors and the scallop and the snapper are so perfect in the middle! Tarragon emulsion is definitely a nice touch!

  2. What a great combination of herbs you use here; so flavorful that the broth could probably be had on its own. And gotta love crispy fish skin! Great recipe!

  3. Beatuifully presented dish Lazaro! I love the sea scallop touch, a perfect way to crown this delicious soup. I have never tried grape seed oil, sounds very intriguing. I can only imagine the lovely aromas in your house on Saturdays. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Oh my, this looks delicious! I've never had yellow-eyed snapper. I'll have to look, and ask, at the Chicago Fish Market next visit. The whole recipe has such wonderful elements. I have a pot of tarragon waiting to be made into an emulsion. I also have a nice piece of grouper in the freezer. I wonder how that would work in this recipe.


  5. I've never heard of this snapper before but the soup sounds delicious and nice touch making a tarragon emulsion, which pairs well with fish.

  6. yay i love when you cook! beautiful dishes as usual! i hope you are having a fantastic weekend!

  7. Mmm...what a lovely dish. I love the plating of it too. Tarragon and fish and seafood just seem to go, but you took it to the next level! Yum!

  8. That sounds and looks just wonderful! I'm sure the fish head & bones add great flavor but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try that.... maybe after a glass of wine! ;-)

  9. Ooo...walnut oil. Yum! What a flavor combination - I love it!

  10. Hi, the dish looks delicious and what a lovely presentation. Great combination of sea scallops and yellow eye snapper, and of course last but not the least, the tarragon emulsion, nice touch.
    Crispy fish skin always taste great.

  11. How lucky you were to receive this whole, oil-free fish from your friend! A beautifully presented dish that honors that yellow-eye snapper. I’ll bet that broth was something, with the fish trimmings and all the herbs. Love that tarragon emulsion as well.

  12. Hi! I clicked on your blog because of a title of a soup. I admire all ingredients and I am sure it is great; the emulsions adds additional, tasty flavor; have a nice and calm Sunday...:)

  13. Wow what fabulous soup and great presentation! Congrats for your friend great catch and you for your delicious soup all the way around for all of you to enjoy this!!!

  14. What a talented and creative mind you have! I have only 3 words to say, I want some!

  15. Hi Lazaro
    what a beautiful presentation!! I have to admit while I love Red Snapper, I have never seen Yellow Eye Snapper...but of course I always learn something from your posts, one of the many reasons I enjoy them so! You have so many things going on here its like a symphony of flavors, all commingling to create a masterpiece.
    Thanks again for being such a wonderful inspiration, you are The Guru of Gourmande.....

  16. Brilliant idea to use a tarragon emulsion! I need to take note and start using tarragon more often! goes so well with the fish and the dish becomes amazing as a result.

  17. A beautiful presentation, Lazaro and it sounds fantastic with the snapper and scallops as the centerpiece of the slightly spicy soup=just reading the recipe makes me hungry!...Hope you are enjoying a fun weekend.

  18. This must taste good as I read your recipe...mouth watering soup. Great presentation and love the scallop and snapper in the center. Well done and thanks for sharing this great delicious soup :)

  19. The soup sounds and looks terrific! And I can't agree with you more about eating the fish skin! I love it.

  20. Outstanding presentation Lazaro - you think of everything and never neglect a single detail. Even the potato pedestal, where most would just use any old potato to prop the fish and scallop, you use the gorgeous Yukon Gold!!

    Love the colour of the soup, the terragon emulsion and the inclusion of saffron. The cherry on top is that you utilised every part of the fish - the hallmark of a truly accomplished cook! Well done!!!

  21. Crispy fish skin is tasty. We eat it with Tom yum noodle-heaven!
    Your food is sophisticated and very nicely taken care of. Every single element is full of flavor! Beautiful presentation. Yes, you have to show who's behind all these beautiful dishes! :)

    You look handsome in that pic and the apron looks good on you!!!!!!

  22. Delicious and elegant soup.
    Great combination ♥

  23. So many layers of flavor in your soup, Lazaro. The color is amazing and your presentation perfect. The tarragon emulsion is a clever finish; I've never used grape seed oil and will definitely look into it.
    Red snapper is a favorite in my house and I wish I had the patience to make your soup with all its garnishes!

  24. This is such a fabulous, layered dish! If I got this in a restaurant, I would definitely be going back over and over again!

  25. I'm imagining how sensational this soup and crisp fish must taste. This truly looks like a dish that would be served at a 5 star restaurant. Fabulous!

  26. This soup sounds so flavorful -- it is definitely the type of soup that I could eat any time of year. That potato pedestal to hold up the scallop and fish is a wonderful idea!

  27. Yum! What an elegant dish. I would love to try this out :)

  28. What a fantastic, inventive, and sophisticated dish. I love all of the layers of flavor here. And your presentation is so beautiful. I love red snapper!

  29. I've never had crispy fish skin before. I'm not adventurous enough to try it on my own. ;) You laid out the directions for this soup very clearly making something seemingly complicated seem doable. Thanks!

  30. Hey, this looks so delicious to my empty belly right now. I think it would look delicious to my belly when full too though! I love anything that involves super fresh seafood like that snapper with saffron-yummerz. Ooh, and crispy fish skin is so good when done right...

  31. You are making me so hungry with your fish dishes, I agree with you that fish skin is delicious when fried, and that composition of crispy snapper, on yukon surrounded by a saffron broth is just a gorgeous combination of flavors, not to mention always a winner in my book :o)

  32. Wow, what a delicious looking soup. Actually, I'm a lightweight when it comes to spicy food so this will be perfect for me and the idea of crispy fish combined with those flavours sounds awesome. The food here is so beautifully presented.

  33. I am not a huge fish soup fan I would be happy to give this one a try. I guess i had to many unfresh fish soups. Love using the potatoes as a pedestal, brilliant. And great tip on how to cook fish skin properly. Thank you!

  34. Lazaro that looks just amazing! What a show stopper! Hope your week's off to a great start :)

  35. I need to make friends with fish connections. the ones I've got are NOT doing it for me :P

    Seriously this soup looks awesome! I'm all about a bit of extra spice.

  36. Wow, this sounds incredible. I love all the flavors going on here. Hope the running is going well!

  37. The tarragon emulsion sounds like a wonderful pairing for the snapper and scallops. What an elegant dish. Thank you for sharing this.

  38. Fantastic effort Lazaro!
    It's amazing how all we foodies can and do feed off of each others' creativity in the kitchen.
    Even I can extract some facets of this very attactive dish you've prepared.
    Love the photo of you in cooking action mode ;o)

    BTW...when you have a chance...there's a little something on my APPRECIATION page for you ;)
    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes, Claudia

  39. That looks so wonderful. I am a big fan of soup and I make my stocks from scratch. This is so up my ally, thanks for the post.

  40. Such an incredible soup, Lazaro. I adore Red Snapper but can't say I've ever happened upon Yellow Eye Snapper. Are they similar?

    Thank you so much for sharing...The hint of spice and your beautiful presentation are sparking my taste buds for just a nibble:)


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