Sizzling Red Snapper

Sometimes a good seafood dinner can be a bit pricier than desired. But, you can also satisfy your seafood appetite without spending a lot.

In the Saturday Early Show's latest Chef on a Shoestring challenge, Aaron Bashy provided a home cooked menu for four that costs no more than $30.

Bashy is the executive chef and owner of The Minnow restaurant, which features seafood. He says his culinary style is a reflection of his New England childhood mixed with his classical French training.

His Chef on a Shoestring seafood menu starts with an appetizer of extra crispy shrimp cocktail; the main course is crunchy red snapper with celery puree, roasted turnip and warm ginger; and for dessert, cranberry-orange streusel tart.


Streusel: (STROO-zuhl): A crumbly topping consisting of flour, sugar, butter and various spices that is sprinkled on coffeecakes, breads, muffins and cakes. Bashy loosely interprets this by creating a crumbly top for his tart.


Extra Crispy Shrimp Cocktail
Serves Four

16 small-medium shrimp (approximately 1 pound), reserve the shells for the fish stock
2 cups flour
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups breadcrumbs
salt and pepper for seasoning
vegetable oil for frying


  1. In three separate, shallow bowls, place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Peel and clean shrimp, and season them with salt and pepper.
  2. Without covering the tail, dip the rest of the shrimp in the flour, then the eggs and finally the breadcrumbs. For fast and easy dipping, it's best to keep one hand dry and one hand wet. Reserve dipped shrimp on a plate. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  3. Using a shallow sauté pan, pour vegetable oil to about 1/2-inch deep. Place on low to medium heat until oil reaches 350 degrees F, when it just begins to smoke. In three separate batches, carefully place the shrimp in the oil with tongs, making sure to place them down away from you. Cook on one side for 2 to 3 minutes until evenly browned. Flip shrimp over and cook on remaining side for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Set cooked shrimp on a cooling rack or on paper towels to allow excess oil to drip off. Season with salt and pepper. Place shrimp hanging off a martini glass like a classic shrimp cocktail and serve with dipping sauce.

Cocktail Dipping Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoon horseradish
a splash of Worcestershire sauce
a splash of Tabasco sauce


Combine all ingredients and whisk. Adjust seasonings according to taste.

Crunchy Red Snapper Fillet with Celery
Puree, Roasted Turnip and Warm Ginger Broth

Serves 4

4 5-ounce red snapper fillets; if you purchased the whole fish, reserve the tail, bones, and head of fish for the stock
1/4 cup medium grain couscous
a dash of dried cumin
a dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 1/2 cup fish stock (if you are not using wine, please increase your fish stock to 2 cups)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon jalapeño pepper, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 scallions, minced with green tips trimmed off, reserve the tips and scraps for the fish stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 large white turnip
5 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 tablespoon butter
oil for sautéing
1 medium Idaho potato


  1. Peel turnip and place it whole in an oiled sauté pan on medium heat. Allow this to cook slowly for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, as you continue to prepare the rest of the dish. Be sure to watch and turn the turnip periodically so it browns evenly. The turnip is done cooking when it's softened and caramelized on the outside. Let cool and cut into thin rounds. Store covered in a warm oven.
  2. Peel and boil potato; puree smooth. Sauté celery with oil, garlic and rosemary until softened and caramelized, approximately 5 minutes. Puree until smooth and fold in with potato puree and butter. Keep warm.
  3. Combine uncooked couscous with dried cumin and cayenne pepper on a plate. Dip the skin side of each fillet in couscous mixture to coat.
  4. Place a light layer of vegetable oil in an oven-proof sauté pan over medium heat. Just as pan begins to smoke, add fillets, coated side down. Cook on one side until skins are crispy, approximately 2 minutes. Place pan in a 375 degree F oven for about four minutes, until fillets are no longer translucent. Remove from oven and flip fillets over.
  5. Add the white wine (if you're not using white wine, remember to use 2 cups of fish stock), fish stock, ginger, jalapeño, soy sauce and scallion to the fillets in the pan and place it back on stove at medium heat. Allow the fish to finish cooking in the broth for approximately 1 minute. Remove the fillets from the pan and keep warm. Reduce the broth by one-third, and add salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve

Place three slices of roasted turnip in a shallow bowl. Top with a dollop of the celery puree and then the red snapper fillet. Pour warm broth into the bowl, so it reaches half-way up the blackfish. Garnish with scallion cut in thin strips.

Fish Stock Ingredients
head, tail and bones of fish
2 quarts water
tips and scraps from a bunch of scallions
shrimp shells, properly rinsed
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, halved
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
a pinch of dry herbs like rosemary and thyme
black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a large pot and place on medium heat. Just before it comes to a boil, turn down heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, skimming off foam periodically. Strain stock and reserve.

Cranberry-Orange Streusel Tart
Makes one 10-inch tart

Tart Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut in small pieces
2 tablespoon cold milk


Combine flour, salt, sugar and butter in mixing bowl and mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add milk and mix until it just comes together in a ball. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for several hours.

Streusel Topping Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
6 tablespoon butter, melted
6 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 almonds, coarsely chopped


Mix to combine ingredients. The melted butter is the binder for the dry ingredients. Chill several hours until hard.

Cranberry-Orange Filling Ingredients

2 bags of cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange zested and juiced


Combine all ingredients in a saucepot and bring to a slow boil. Simmer until it reaches a thick consistency, about 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and let cool to room temperature.

To Assemble

Roll out crust to 1/8-inch thick and line a 10-inch tart pan. Fill with cranberry-orange mixture. Cover with streusel topping. (It will seem high, but this is fine - the filling will settle while baking.) Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until streusel is a light golden brown, about 40 minutes.