Snapper For Lent

During the season of Lent, many people give up eating meat, so a lot of fish gets consumed between now and Easter.

One way to keep the family happy is to vary those fish recipes often. The Early Show resident chef Bobby Flay has created a simple yet tasty red snapper dish you're sure to add to your cooking repertoire.

For the observant in the Western church the Lenten season (that period following Mardi Gras, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy (Maundy) Thursday right before Easter) is the season of soul-searching and repentance.

In the earliest days of the church, Lent was the preparatory time for Easter, the celebration and observance of the resurrection of Christ.

The day after the Mardi Gras fling, it is customary for many Christians to fast by abstaining from meat during Lent. That clearly explains why the festival is often called "Carnival," Latin for "farewell to meat."

But, how many non-meat dishes can one prepare over a 40-day period and still keep the troops happy? Well, Flay offers a recipe worthy of seconds, thirds and then some.

Red Snapper in Parchment with Provencal Butter with Sweet Garlic Rice
Serves: 4

Sweet Garlic Rice
8 cloves roasted garlic, peeled
3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

  1. Place roasted garlic and stock in a food processor and process until smooth. Place in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil/onion mixture. Add the simmering garlic stock, stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the parsley.

Provencal Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 anchovy
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons Nicoise olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Scrape mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4 sheets parchment paper or aluminum foil
4 red snapper fillets, 8 ounces each
Provencal butter
Lemon slices
Thyme sprigs
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place 1 red snapper fillet in the center of each piece of parchment paper. Top each filet with a heaping tablespoon of the butter, a slice of lemon and a sprig of thyme. Fold edges together, then tightly fold in the edges, crimping around all sides to seal packets completely. Place on baking sheet.
  2. Bake in preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Place each packet on dinner plate and serve immediately.
Flay is also the chef/owner of Mesa Grill and Bolo restaurants, host of the TV Food Network program "Food Nation," and author of four cookbooks: "Bold American Food," "Boy Meets Grill," "Bobby Flay's From My Kitchen To Your Table," and "Bobby Flay Cooks American."