This is a main course built for summer: substantial but light, with a refreshing salad beneath. If you'd prefer skinless fillets, by all means use them, but be aware that the delicate edges may break up a bit. Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour. Notes: Wash the arugula the night before and chill, wrapped in a kitchen towel and stored in a resealable plastic bag. Make the toasts (grilled instead of broiled, if you like) a day ahead and keep in an airtight container. The vinaigrette can be made up to a week ahead and kept in the refrigerator. The fish can be seared (2 to 3 minutes per side in a hot pan) shortly before dinner, then put in a 350° oven for about 8 minutes to finish cooking (an easy way to get all 8 servings ready at once).
8 slices (1 in. thick) crusty bread, such as pugliese, cut on a diagonal
About 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon sea salt or coarse kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on bread and fish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling on bread and fish
2 cloves peeled garlic, cut in half
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained in a colander
8 red snapper or Pacific cod fillets with skin (6 to 8 oz. each), rinsed and dried
About 8 cups arugula leaves (about 1/3 lb.), washed and dried
1 pint mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes (about 3 cups), rinsed and halved
About 1/2 cup store-bought black-olive tapenade
8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Preheat broiler. Put bread slices on a large baking sheet, brush both sides with olive oil (about 6 tbsp.), and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Broil bread on both sides until golden and crunchy, about 2 minutes per side. When toasts are cool enough to handle, rub each on one side with garlic halves. Lower heat to 325°.
Zest 1 lemon (to yield 1 tsp. zest) and squeeze half of it (to yield 2 tsp. juice). Cut other lemon into wedges. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add beans and toss gently to mix. Set aside.
With a very sharp knife, make shallow slashes about 1 in. apart in skin of snapper fillets. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 4 fillets skin side down, reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 to 6 minutes, pressing often with spatula to keep them as flat as possible; turn over and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and reserve pan juices in a bowl. Wipe pan clean with paper towels and cook remaining fillets the same way, reserving pan juices and transferring to baking sheet. Put fish in oven and cook until done, about 8 minutes (cut to check).
Add arugula and tomatoes to beans and toss gently but thoroughly. Divide salad among 8 plates, arranging in center.
Set toasts, garlicky side up, on salads and top toasts with snapper fillets, skin side up. Drizzle each fillet with a bit of pan juice, then top with about 1 tbsp. tapenade and a parsley sprig, and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish each plate with a lemon wedge. Drizzle some olive oil over each.
Very quick and easy to make, great for a healthy weeknight dinner. I used snapper fillets without skin and quartered Campari tomatoes instead of slicing a bunch of cherry tomatoes to save time. Also rubbed garlic on both sides of olive toast for extra flavor. The garlic toast, arugula, and lemon flavor with the fish tasted wonderful together. The dish looks pretty too. My husband and I both loved this recipe
My experience with this recipe: great flavors, poor execution (on my part)! I burned the toast. Twice. I had whole fish, which I have never worked with before. But the flavors were outstanding: bright, fresh, strong. I will definitely make again.
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