Being one of the healthiest foods around, snapper is a popular kitchen fare for many. This family of fish is composed of both freshwater and marine varieties with red snapper being one of the most popular. Coming from both tropical and subtropical regions, these medium sized fish gets their name from their strong jaws which can “snap” strongly. Snapper is high in protein, low in saturated fat and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Favored for their white fillets, the flesh of snapper is firm yet mildly flavored making it versatile in the kitchen. The flesh of snapper becomes flaky when cooked adding texture to it. It can be cooked in a variety of ways including frying, baking and grilling. Like other white fish, this can be easy to overcook. When this happens you may end up with dry flakes that are not as flavorful. Cooking snapper sous vide style is a good way to help avoid this situation.
By cooking the snapper in a vacuum sealed bag in a water bath it becomes possible to control the amount of heat used. The fish is only heated to the ideal internal temperature it should be at after being cooked which prevents the fillets from drying out. Additionally, the compression from the vacuum packaging helps to seal in moisture into the fish keeping it juicy and flavorful.
To cooks sous vide snapper that is sushi grade “rare” it must be held at a temperature of 104°F / 40 °C for about 10 to 30 minutes. For medium doneness on sushi grade snapper a temperature of 122°F / 510°C for 10 to 30 minutes is needed. Snapper that is not of sushi quality may be held at 132°F / 55.6°C for 10 to 30 minutes for medium rare doneness and 140°F / 60°C for 10 to 30 minutes for medium doneness.
Sous vide snapper may be eaten as is if seasoned with necessary herbs and spices before the cooking. It may also be flavored with basic ingredients and finished later with a sauce. This may also be pan seared, broiled or grilled quickly after the sous vide prep.
This Moroccan flavored snapper still manages to stay light despite all of the flavors in it. I tend not to sear the fish before serving but if you want some extra flavor and texture you can sear it.
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