Baked Red Snapper With Niçoise Nage and Tapenade Accompanied With Broiled Tomatoes


4 red snapper fillets (6 to 7 ounces)
3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
kosher salt
fines herbs
12 tomato halves (see recipe)
6 ounces
tapenade (see recipe)
2 tablespoons
chiffonnade of basil
2 ounces basil infused oil (see recipe)
2 zucchini (sliced on bias)
8 ounces
niçoise nage (see recipe)

Marinate fish with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, freshly ground pepper, kosher salt, and fines herbs.

Sear fish on both sides in a very hot skillet and remove from heat. Top fish with a bit of tapenade and finish baking in a 350 oven for about 25 minutes.

Blanch zucchini in salted water and sauté in half an ounce of olive oil. Season to taste.

To serve, fan zucchini around plate and top with three confit tomato halves. Top tomatoes with baked fish and ladle niçoise nage over top. Drizzle basil-infused oil over tower and sprinkle chiffonnade of basil around plate. Serves 4.

Niçoise Nage

4 large artichokes (cleaned to choke and sliced)
juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 ounces olive oil
1 small onion (sliced)
1 leek, white and 1/2 of green part (sliced)
1/2 fennel bulb (sliced)
2 elephant garlic cloves (split)
2 Roma tomatoes (halved)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (roasted and crushed)
4 cups dry white wine
2 cups water

Peel artichoke down to choke (remove leaves and trim away fuzzy choke). Place artichoke in water with the juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon salt to stop discoloration.

In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and let it caramelize for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add leeks, artichoke, fennel, garlic (smashed with back of knife), split tomatoes, fennel seeds, and continue to cook (sweat) for 4 to 5 minutes. Add white wine and then add just enough water to cover the top. Boil over medium heat for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and reduce by 1/4. Set aside.

Note: Should you be in a hurry, or fresh artichokes are not available, use canned artichoke bottoms with their liquid.


1 cup pitted olives de Provence (available at Central Market or Phoenicia Deli)
1 tablespoon chopped capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon roasted elephant garlic purée
1 tablespoon cognac (optional)
1 tablespoon orange and lemon zest
1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
3 tablespoons reggiano parmesan
freshly ground pepper to taste

Place first 7 ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper. Makes 1 cup.

Thyme-Garlic Tomatoes Confit

6 large Roma tomatoes (peeled)
1 ounce fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, finely diced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.

To peel, cut a small crosshatch in the bottom of each tomato, immerse in boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds, and then immerse in iced water. Peel and reserve.

In a flat sauté pan place the Roma tomatoes (split in half) cut side down. Sprinkle tomatoes with chopped thyme and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat tomatoes with olive oil and place in a hot oven to roast until they begin to soften, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Note: The remaining liquid from the confit process is wonderful tossed with pasta or your favorite vegetable.

Basil-Infused Oil

fresh basil
extra-virgin olive oil

Blanch herbs (with stem) in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from water with a skimmer and quickly refresh in an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain them well of all liquid.

Measure the herb mixture and add an equal amount of fruity extra-virgin olive oil to it. In a blender purée the mixture until smooth. Remove from blender, measure the mixture, and add 4 times that amount of olive oil. Blend well and store for one day.

Without stirring up sediment, skim off all infused oil and strain through a coffee filter (or use a very fine mesh strainer; allow at least two hours). Store oil in refrigerator for up to two weeks.