Snapper with Pine Nut & Herb Stuffing

Snapper with Pine Nut & Herb Stuffing (Gary Nicklin)

I didn’t really care for stuffings until I cooked this snapper with pine nut & herb stuffing, inspired by a dish Giovanni Pilu served me. Herbs, including rosemary, thyme and oregano grow wild throughout Sardinia and are known as ‘erbette di campo’, herbs of the field. They add a fabulous aroma and flavour to stuffings used for poultry or fish. The pine nuts and dried grapes are a remnant of the Arabic influence that often still appears in Sardinian cooking. This fragrant stuffing needs an equally aromatic wine, like the Aragosta Vermentino di Sardegna with its perfumed nose, tropical fruit flavours and good acid length.

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 1 x 600g snapper, gilled, gutted and scaled
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for rubbing
  • Rocket & herb salad, for serving (see video)

 

Pine Nut & Herb Stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons (about 10g) pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 40g stale sourdough bread, crusts discarded, diced
  • 1 tablespoon (about 10g) currants, soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes, drained
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons very finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 25g butter
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Method
  1. Remove fish from the fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking.
  2. Wipe out the belly cavity to remove any remaining blood. Wipe the skin to remove any stray scales and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut 3 or 4 deep slashes into both sides of the fish, through to the bone.
  4. Cover and set aside in a cool place to come to room temperature.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C.
  6. While it’s heating, place pine nuts for stuffing on an oven tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes or so, until lightly coloured and aromatic.
  7. Make Pine Nut & Herb Stuffing: heat a saucepan, add oil, onion and a good pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until just starting to colour.
  8. Stir in garlic and cook for a further minute.
  9. Remove from heat and stir into remaining ingredients.
  10. Pack the Stuffing inside the cavity of the fish.
  11. Place in an oiled baking dish, rub well with oil and sprinkle with salt.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes or so, basting occasionally, until the flesh inside the scoring at the thickest part of the fish is just opaque all the way to the bone.
  13. Remove from oven and set aside in a warm place to rest for 5 minutes.
  14. Place on a platter and serve with a rocket & herb salad.

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Rocket & Herb Salad

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