Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Crispy sweet potato crusted Snapper

Something Smells Fishy...

Big thanks to Rojo at Spanish court hotel and Calle Ocho in NYC as they both served me a delicious fish that became the inspiration for this post. They both prepare fish crusted with some form of starch. Calle ocho serves "Crispy Snapper", which is snapper filet wrapped in a leaf and fried. It tastes just like it’s wrapped in potatoes. Rojo serves "Sweet Potato Crusted Snapper", which I thought was an even better idea. So here is my home made version, better than any fish n chips Ive ever had.

Now there are three notable highlights to this dish. And they are GAME CHANGERS

  • The amazing veggie peeler
  •  The sweet potato batter
  • The awesome crunch achieved from double frying

This veggie peeler was something I stumbled upon while watching YouTube videos a few months ago.  I immediately added it to my amazon wish list. I had to program it in my brain that I would only purchase it if I had a worthy recipe. It comes with three blades, the mini spiral (which I used) the medium sized spiral and a blade for ribbon cuts. It’s really the most amazing vegetable peeler I’ve ever used. 

Next, I thought long and hard about the type of batter I wanted for the fish. I decided instead of using cornstarch, panko or tempura methods; a seasoned sweet potato batter would have enough starch and body to coat the fish. And boy did it, you could almost fry this batter on its own and eat it (its that yummy) it gave the fish the perfect coating, almost like its protecting the fish from the high heat. You end up with an extremely crunchy outer layer, with a very tender succulent fish in the center.

That brings us to the third and final variable, double frying. Something I have heard about but never tried, and by golly it works. I got this veggie peeler about a week ago. I had to do a test run on some fries, so I had them all sliced and dropped them in the oil, but realized they were really limp and not crispy, I thought there was something wrong. So I took them out pat dried them and let them cool a bit, I was going to pop them in the oven, then I remembered reading somewhere about double frying and figured what the heck, I cranked the temp to the highest setting and within seconds of them being in the hot oil again they were crispy and delicious, I was a believer. And this method made this snapper super crispy. 

I really wish this was a video post, so you guys could see exactly how it was done. But it entailed quite a number of steps and as you can see this post hardly even has any images because I was so busy cooking. Hope you try this out, and if you don’t, stop by Calle Ocho or Rojo and try their versions. 

Ingredients (printable recipe)

NB. I'm using the very starchy red skin Jamaican sweet potatoes, with the yellow insides not the orange sweet yams.

Sweet potato strings
½ large potato
Spiral veggie slicer (click here)

 Sweet potato batter
2 cups sweet potato
2 tablespoons flour
1 ¾  cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoon Lawry’s

 Seasoned fish filet
4 snapper fillet
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon. oil

Wine sauce
4 tablespoons Thyme lemon compound butter (click here)
1 cup White Zinfandel
2 teaspoon. vinegar
1 teaspoon. sugar
1 shallot/onion finely chopped


  • Preheat deep fryer to 340 degrees
  • Season fish filets with salt, black pepper and oil
  • Take one very large sweet potato that has been washed and peeled. Cut in half and make veggie strings with the peeler, set aside in a dish of cold water
  • Chop up the other half of the potato (which should yield around 2 cups) and blend into a fine batter with the rest of the sweet potato batter ingredients
  • Once you’re ready to fry pat dry the sweet potato strings
  • Place some flour in a shallow dish; dredge the fish in the flour then dip in the sweet potato batter then back into the flour.
  • Take a sizable portion of the sweet potato strings and press onto one side of the battered fish,(it will stick)  drop in the hot oil for about 3 minutes
  • Remove from the oil, drain and slightly cool it, while  raising  the temperature to 375.
  • Once the oil is at 375 place the fish back in the oil, in another 3 minutes or less the fish and potato will be a very crispy golden brown
  • Once you have done the previous steps for all pieces of fish, pat dry the remaining sweet potato strings and double fry in the same manner and use as a garnish

For the sauce

  • Lightly sauté shallots/onions on the butter
  • Add wine, vinegar and sugar bring to a boil, reduce and thicken

Greedy Tips:

  • You need a deep fryer for this to work properly or a deep pot with a thermometer 
  • Make sure you get fresh thick filet cuts, this ensures that the fish is flaky and tender when fried
  • Your sweet potato batter should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter not a runny crepe
  • When you dip the battered fish back in the flour this creates a glue that the sweet potato strings will stick to. 
  • If your having problems with the potato strings sticking, just flour, batter and flour this fish as normal and fry them separately. when you done the fish fry the potato strings and and garnish.
  • Don't fry for too long on the second fry, it can easily burn, the minute it gets golden brown remove it from the oil
  • The batter recipe can coat at least 8-10 filets, I had a good amount left over. So if your doing more than 4 filets you don't need to increase the batter ingredients. 

Two thing that are needed to make this recipe a success; a deep fryer and the spiral veggie peeler.

Xoxo Greedygirl

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