"Cracklin" Crusted Red Snapper Recipe

Chef Ryan Trahan
Crusted Red Snapper Dish

"Cracklin" Crusted Red Snapper with pickled crawfish tails, buttermilk chili consomme, spring vegetables, burnt leek oil, fermented cream, and bowfin caviar

1 hour 6

Main ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb. scale-on red snapper filet (trimmed & portioned to six 4 oz. pieces)
  • 4 oz. clarified butter
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk chili consommé
  • pickled crawfish tails
  • spring vegetable salad
  • burnt leek oil
  • 9 oz. spicy bowfin caviar (Cajun caviar brand)
  • 6 oz. sour cream or crème fraiche
  • Micro radish green

Buttermilk Chili Consommé:

  • 1/2 gallon buttermilk
  • 4 dried ancho chilies
  • 6 dried guajillo chilies
  • 2 dried pasilla chilies (toast, rehydrate, seed, and stem all chilies)
  • 8 oz. red onion, diced
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 8 sheets of gelatin, bloomed

Pickled Crawfish Tails:

  • 1/2 lb. fresh crawfish tails
  • 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 tsp. black peppercorn (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
  • 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. shallot (brunoised)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme sprig

Spring Vegetable Salad:

  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 fresh banana peppers, julienned
  • 3 baby summer squash
  • 18 heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 6 oz, fresh lima beans, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 small spring onions
  • 9 fresh baby okra
  • 4 oz. reserved pickle liquid, strained

Burnt Leek Oil:

  • 2 large leeks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil and 1 tbsp. (or any other flavor neutral oil) 



Red Snapper:
Place snapper filets scale side down in a hotel pan or baking pan and add just enough water to cover skin and submerge scales in water (about 1/4 of an inch). Refrigerate and let soak for a minimum of 20 minutes but no longer than 1 hour. When ready to serve, remove the snapper from refrigeration and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat over to 350 degrees while you temper the fish. Heat a 12-inch sauté skillet over medium high heat with enough clarified butter to coat the entire bottom of the pan – about 1/8 inch deep. Right before the oil hits it smoke point, remove the snapper from the water and place directly into the pan scale side down (make sure skin does not seize and curl by using a fish spatula to press the top of the fish filet flat to the pan). The reaction between the oil and water will cause the scales to pop and become crispy like chips. Cook scale side down in the pan for 2 minutes then flip the filets and place in the oven to cook through until 130 degrees in the center (8-10 minutes). Fish should have crispy scales on top while cooking to a moist and flaky finish. Serve immediately or keep warm for a maximum of 5 minutes until ready to plate. Holding the fish cooked too long will cause the finished product to be dry.

Buttermilk Chili Consommé:
Heat fryer to 350 degrees. Once the oil is up to temperature, fry dried chilies submerged under oil until they puff and toast all the way around (about 2 minutes). Remove chilies from the oil, rinse, clean, and place in a bowl. Add enough water to the bowl to cover the chilies and use a small plate to weight the peppers and keep them submerged. Soak for 10 minutes. After chilies have soaked, remove from the water and remove seeds and stems. In a 1 gallon sauce pan add buttermilk, cleaned chilies, bay leaf, garlic and salt and bring to a simmer. Once curds form (about 5 minutes) turn off heat, cover pan, and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Uncover, add the vitamix, and blend on high for 30 seconds. Strain buttermilk through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Using a small sauté pan, melt bloomed gelatin over low heat until just melted (do not cook). Using a whisk, incorporate melted gelatin into strained buttermilk. Place buttermilk mixture into the freezer until completely frozen through (this could take 2 to 4 hours depending on the temperature of your freezer). Once frozen, remove the buttermilk mixture from the bowl and place in a cheesecloth-lined colander with a basin underneath, to catch the buttermilk as it thaws, in a warm environment. The consommé should be clear and free of all particles. Place in the refrigerator and reserve for use. When ready to serve, hold consommé at room temperature for 20 minutes to temper before serving.

Pickled Crawfish Tails:
Remove crawfish tails from packaging and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat tails dry and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Place crawfish tails and pickle liquid into a medium sized vacuum bag and vacuum under full pressure to remove all oxygen and quick pickle the tails. Allow tails to sit under pressure in pickle liquid in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Cut open bag, remove crawfish tails, strain the pickle liquid, and reserve tails in the pickle liquid in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Charred and Fresh Spring Vegetable Salad:
Place fresh lima beans in an instant pot and add just enough water to cover beans. Add salt and thyme to the pot and cook on the manual setting under high pressure for 8 minutes. Once cooked, release pressure from the instant pot, remove beans, strain and remove thyme, then place in the cooler to cool until ready to use. Heat chargriller to high and allow to heat while you prep/clean your vegetables. Vertically halve your okra; remove the tops from the spring onion and quarter. Using a pastry brush, coat corn, okra, spring onion, squash, and zucchini with clarified butter and grill on each side until charred (about 8 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely. While your vegetables cool, add cherry tomatoes to a medium sized mixing bowl; using a blow torch, blister the skins until they pop. You are not cooking the tomatoes, just blistering the skins. Once the skins pop, peel them away from the flesh of the tomatoes and set peeled tomatoes aside in the refrigerator for later use. Once vegetables have cooled, remove the kernels from the ears of corn, julienne charred spring onions, and slice squash paper thin (1/8 inch) using a mandolin. Add all the vegetables to a medium sized mixing bowl, add crawfish tails and reserved pickle liquid, salt to taste, and allow to marinate for 5-10 minutes until ready to serve.

Burnt Leek Oil:
Remove roots from leeks and separate petals. Rinse leeks to remove and sand or dirt particles and dry thoroughly. Preheat oven to 500 degrees convection on high fan. Using the tablespoon of oil coat leeks thoroughly and roast until blackened but not ashed (about 8 minutes). Remove leeks from the oven, cool, and vacuum pack in a small bag with peppercorns, grapeseed oil, and salt. Heat sous vide bath to 129 degrees and cook 3 hours to infuse. Remove from the sous vide bath and place the contents of the bag into a blender and blend until well combined. Remove from the blender and strain through a fine mesh colander lined with an oil filter. Store refrigerated until ready to use.

To Serve:
Place a 1 oz. smear of crème fraiche around the edge of each coupe bowl. Evenly distribute pickled crawfish and spring vegetable salad between 6 wide coupe bowls and garnish salad with micro radish green tops. Place a 1.5 oz. quenelle of the caviar to the bottom left side of the salad flat on the surface of the plate. Remove snapper from the oven and pat the bottom of the fish with a napkin to remove all the butter residue and plate to the top left of the salad flat on the plate. Add 3 oz. of tempered buttermilk chili consommé to the center of the plate and allow to pool in the middle. Using a squeeze bottle dot 1 once of burnt leek oil into the consommé and serve immediately.

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