Last week I finally had a chance to check out the newly opened fresh fish and seafood store in our small town. The timing was just perfect for the Lenten season. There was a pretty good assortment of local fish varieties like red snapper, grouper and these amberjack fillets. I planned to bake the big chunk of fillet I bought but I was concerned that the thickness which required longer cooking time would dry out the fish so I decided to cut it up into 1" thick slices. I marinated the fillets in lemon juice, salt and pepper for about an hour. Then I simply pan fried them in olive oil and served them over a simple pasta with some grilled zucchini (now one of our favorites). I was very careful not to overcook the amberjack since these type of firm fish will easily get tough and dry when overcooked. With it's mild taste, amberjack is perfect to use for homemade fish sticks and other popular fish recipes. I've been looking forward to making a pasta side dish idea that I found in a catalogue so this was also the best time to try it.
PASTA WITH PANKO & RED BELL PEPPERS
(recipe from Baker's Catalogue)
I used angel hair but the recipe suggested spaghetti.
8 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked al dente then drained (reserve about 1 cup pasta water)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced onions
2-3 cloves garlic
Lightly toast the panko breadcrumbs in half of the olive oil then transfer to a plate. In the remaining olive oil, cook the garlic, onions and red bell pepper for a few minutes. Toss in the angel hair and add some pasta water if mixture gets too dry. Season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if desired. Mix in half of the toasted breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the rest of the breadcrumbs on top of the pasta along with grated parmesan and some chopped parsley.