Friday, April 30, 2010

Opakapaka (Snapper) in Haitian Court-Bouillon: A Spicy-Sweet & Healthy Dish

Upon finding out this month's country for Regional Recipes (hosted by my wonderful friend Joanne at Eats Well With Others), I was a bit stuck for a dish. In the over 300 cookbooks in my collection you would think there would be some Haitian recipes, but no. Perusing the Internet didn't give me all that much inspiration either. Then, just when I was thinking I might skip this month's event, my May issue of Cooking Light arrived and I happened to flick through it and found a whole spread on Haitian inspired recipes. The Snapper in Haitian Court-Bouillon stood out immediately--poached fish and veggies in a spicy-sweet-savory broth sounded like the perfect healthy dinner, especially served over some brown rice.

The recipe can be found in the May 2010 Cooking Light and also on the web here.

Cooking Light says, "Part French technique, part personalized spin, this main-course fish dish is the essence of good family classics. In the Cadet family, it's always served over rice. For the prettiest results, slice the red bell pepper and onion with a mandoline, making paper-thin strips. Choose a sustainable snapper species, like black snapper, or go with black bass or striped bass."

Snapper in Haitian Court-Bouillon
Cooking Light, May 2010
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and about 1/3 cup sauce and vegetables)

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless black snapper fillets
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup clam juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1/2 to 1 whole habanero pepper, seeded (I used 1 1/2 peppers--they were fairly small)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle fish evenly with thyme mixture.

Place broth and next 4 ingredients (through habanero) in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Discard onion and habanero. Add fish; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Carefully remove fish from the pan; keep warm.

Add bell pepper and remaining ingredients to cooking liquid in pan; cover and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Top fish with sauce.

Nutritional Info: Calories 214 ; Fat 2.7g (sat 0.5g,mono 0.4g,poly 0.8g); Cholesterol 64mg; Calcium 70mg; Carbohydrate 9.8g; Sodium 587mg; Protein 36.3g; Fiber 1.5g; Iron 0.9mg

Notes/Results: Yum! There was a lot of flavor packed into this simple dish which is pretty quick and easy to prepare. I used a local opakapaka which is a pink snapper, and poaches really well. The fish was moist and tender, and the vegetables just right--not too mushy. The broth had just enough of a kick from the habanero and the sweetness of the honey was a nice compliment. Although white rice would have been more traditional, I used brown rice to up the nutritional profile a bit. With a half cup of the brown rice, the dish comes in at about 323 delicious calories. I would make this again.

Joanne will be rounding up Regional Recipes Haiti at the RR site here.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. sounds so good and I love the color!

  2. definitely love the dish! can't wait to try it!

  3. Whoa perfect timing! Yeah Haiti was a hard country...I didn't realize that there was such a dearth of info out there on Haitian foods. Oops. Next month will be easier!

    Cooking Light must have heard about the RR theme this month and decided to take pity on the round-up. They're nice that way.

    This looks delicious! I love a good court-bouillon.

  4. Wow that does sound good. I'm off to check my mag and see if I marked it to try!

  5. Wonderful flavors with this Haitian Court-Buillon, great dish!

  6. I have not cooked snapper fillets for some time now. You reminded me...:)

  7. What a treat. I've been looking for something new and different. I think this will fill the bill. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  8. How funny that Cooking Light featured Haitian recipes just in the nick of time. This is a beautiful dish for the Regional Recipes roundup Deb!
    I searched online and didn't find too much. I tried making the fried bananas, but they didn't turn out at all. Hopefully I can join in next time!

  9. Simply put, this looks amazing, Deb! As I've said before, I'm not a big fan of fish, but I know I would love this dish. The habanero and honey are such a great combination. I'll bet the flavor is insane!

  10. WOW!!! Coincidentally, I just recipe tested a Haitian codfish dish last weekend. I posted pics on my blog. It was wonderful. I am inspired by Haitian food, and can't wait to learn more! Thanks for this post. (Maybe I should subscribe to Cooking Light.) Have a lovely weekend. : )

  11. Kat--mahalo--it did get some nice color to it. ;-)

    Peggy--thanks! hope you like it. ;-)

    Joanne--I am sure CL did it just for your event! ;-)

    Pam--I am not sure i would have tagged it either if not for the RR event but I am glad I tried it. ;-)

    Natasha--thank you!

    Tigerfish--hope you cook some soon! ;-)

    Mary--I hope you enjoy it. ;-)

    Kim--It was a tough one--I am glad I found this one. ;-)

    Diva--Thank you--coming from a non-lover of fish that is high praise! ;-)

    Rachel--thanks! I'll come by and check out your cod. ;-)


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