American Red Snapper and Watermelon with Chef Christopher Dobrowolski

Schoolhouse Journals August 2014
By Chef Christopher Dobrowolski

Christopher DobrowolskiWelcome back everyone! Hopefully you are making it through the summer swimmingly! Well seems as if June 2014 was the hottest recorded June in history, not just here in Arizona but in all of the U.S. That brings one thing to my mind that’s for sure…… Want to guess? Too late WATERMELON! Ah yes these giant Easter egg shaped sweet balloons of flavor. Watermelon has been around some time now and originated in South Africa but has been marked as grown by Native American as far back as 1615. Guess what? It’s not really a melon it’s a giant berry…. Now that fact can be argued but the species is truly a berry. I will not bore you with too much history of it I just thought it was interesting that our home state Arizona is the largest producer of this berry and probably my favorites and if you can believe this, China is the largest producer of Watermelon in the world!

Ok now for the other half of the story with a following recipe to combine them together. Since we are known for the freshest fish in the Verde Valley we are going to talk about another one of my favorites that is in season right now.. American Red Snapper usually found and line caught in the western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. This fish is truly well rounded with a ton of flavor, medium texture and simple to prepare. Now on to the great part of this story…

The recipe for Fennel Baked Snapper with Watermelon Salsa

  • 2 pounds in 8oz portions red snapper, cleaned
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ Cup blended Olive oil
  • 1 Bulb shaved fresh fennel
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  1. Combine all ingredients besides fish in a large bowl. Rub the fish thourghtly and let fish marinate for 30 minutes (or overnight in the refrigerator for more intense flavor.)
  2. Pull fish from marinade and strain out oil. Place the fish and leftover goodies in foil squares 12”x12” and seal, but leave a slight opening to allow the steam to escape. Place the fish on a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pull from oven or grill and allow to rest.

Watermelon Salsa

  • 1 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon Orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon turbanado raw sugar
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups seeded and finely chopped watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

Stir together all ingredients besides watermelon, cucumber, mango, jalapeno, onion and basil. After sugar is dissolved gently toss all the other ingredients. Chill the salsa until fish is ready to serve and spoon generously over.

Well kids that all I have for now; hopefully we will see you soon.

Best regards, Chris Dobrowolski, Schoolhouse Restaurant



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