Aired July 9, 2008
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (a palmful) ground coriander
3 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 fresh or dry bay leaf
1 hot pepper, such as Serrano, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1/2 cup white wine (eyeball it)
1 cup seafood stock or clam juice (eyeball it)
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
8 to 10 large green olives with pimentos, roughly chopped
1 cup fine cornmeal
4 6-ounce red snapper fillets, skin on
1/4 cup (a handful) cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Place a medium-size saucepot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot, add the rice and stir to coat in the oil for about a minute. Season with salt, pepper and the coriander, then add the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble. Once bubbling, place a lid on the pot, turn the heat down to medium and cook until tender, about 18 minutes.
Once you have the rice cooking start the Vera Cruz sauce: Place a medium-size saucepot or skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the garlic, onion, bay leaf and pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes, until the onions start to get tender. Add the white wine and cook for 1 minute, then add the seafood stock, tomatoes and green olives. Bring up to a bubble, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
While the Vera Cruz sauce is coming up to a simmer, start the crispy snapper: Place a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. While the skillet is heating up, pour the cornmeal into a dish with high sides. Season both sides of the snapper with salt and pepper then dredge the fillets in the cornmeal, pressing the meal onto each side of the fillet to coat them completely and shaking off any excess. When the skillet is hot, place the coated snapper fillets in the skillet skin-side down first. Cook the fillets for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
Remove and discard the bay leaf and pepper halves from the Vera Cruz sauce. Add a quarter of the sauce to the rice and stir.
To serve, divide the rice between 4 plates. Top with a piece of the crispy snapper and some of the remaining sauce. Garnish with the chopped cilantro.