Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grilled Snapper with Orzo (without the orzo)

Or, Emily grills!

This is a dinner from last week. We had the feta-stuffed burgers Sunday or Monday night. Tuesday night was leftovers. Wednesday night, our friend Y. came over with tools to help Rich (I've been told I can use his first name) install a piece of art (a large metal star we picked up at an architectural salvage store over the weekend). Rich had seen two large rusty stars out on the sidewalk in front of the store when I was still out of town. He emailed me a photo and had the store hold them until Saturday. I was nervous about the star motif. Too Texas? Too trendy? I see a lot of star things on HGTV and not just the next Design Star show.

We went by Saturday to look at the stars in person. There were 2 of them, but we decided the other one was too big. The one we got is still close to 4 feet across but small enough to fit in the back seat of a Honda Civic sedan. The star came with a little hole on three of the tips, perfect for hanging, except we were going to hang it on the brick fireplace and don't have fancy tools for drilling into brick and/or mortar. But our friend Y. does because he does home repair/construction stuff for a living. This is the same friend who fixed the door on Steak Chimichurri night. He came over around 5:30 with the proper equipment, and while he and Rich hung the star about 8 feet in the air on the fireplace, I cooked dinner.

The star on the fireplace.

I had not planned on cooking dinner. I had planned on going to the Y after work and letting Rich cook dinner while Y. hung the star (moon to follow?). But it turns out this hanging thing was a two-person job, so it worked out that I decided to be nice and come home straight from work. I was glad we had already cooked the burgers because the fish seemed easier for me to make. The recipe we had picked was a new one to us: Pan-Grilled Snapper with Orzo Pasta Salad from MyRecipes (specifically, Cooking Light online). It did involve using the grill (we don't need no stinkin' pan) but I had thought I would do the prep and the pasta and Rich would grill. I like to eat from the grill but rarely cook from it. Something about the heat and fire, although the gas stove doesn't bother me. I had really only used a charcoal grill before and even then it was a rare occurrence. I think I mainly grilled vegetables on it because I was afraid of killing myself with undercooked meat. My cooking confidence was not high at that point.

This time I was confident but tentative. Once I figured out how to get the grill going (turn the knob, push the button), I was on my way!

Substitutions to this recipe: Tuesday night we decided to make this for Wednesday but realized we did not have enough orzo and did not want to buy some at the Fancy Overpriced Downtown Market or make a special trip with the car to one of the many grocery stores beyond walking distance from downtown. We considered lentils of which we have plenty. Instead, I decided to cook linguine.

In the middle of cooking on Wednesday, I discovered I did not have enough shallots and added a little garlic but not enough to equal the full amount of shallots in the recipe. Rich suggested red onion but I had already made the garlic sub at that point. Over the weekend we bought frozen red snapper at the grocery store which was having a Buy One Get One Free deal--it turned out to be Buy One for Half Price but since there were only 3 pieces of snapper in each of the two bags, I was glad we had two bags.

Raw snapper on a plate.

The sauce.

Linguine with the sauce in the new bowl

Better view of the bowl

When I tasted the sauce, I thought it might be too tangy (I did double the recipe as recommended), but I liked it on the pasta and fish. The snapper looked beautiful on the grill -- perfect little grill marks. I served the pasta in a bowl we had just received that day as a present and put the snapper on a plate so we could each serve ourselves. The three of us ate 4 pieces of fish, and then Rich and I had the other 2 pieces over the next couple days for leftovers. I don't think I ever had snapper before. It was a good, fatty fish, which was perfect for the grill because it didn't fall apart when I flipped it. And it cooked fast.

Look at those grill marks!

The timing of everything worked out great. Rich and Y.w ere just cleaning up their mess and putting the ladder away when I put the food on the table. Their work site, by the way, was about 3 feet in front of the table, while I was working on the other side of the table in the same room.

Dessert: vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce with Creme de Menthe, and frozen Girl Scout Thin Mints.

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