Snapper Fillets in Pistachio-Matzoh Crust

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Yield:

    4–6

    servings

Appears in

Take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachios and almonds.

—GENESIS 43:11

Jacob never guessed that this gift for the “man,” Pharaoh’s governor, was in fact destined for none other than his own son Joseph, he of the technicolor-coat fame. But he was sure it—and a double measure of money—would please.

For pistachios always taste like a treat. I find them more addictive than potato chips when eaten out of hand, and I keep a supply of the pale green nuts in the freezer to glamorize savory foods and desserts. They give more than mere crunch—pistachios have an exotic, almost flowery-sweet taste, suggesting, as Waverly Root has pointed out, a spice more than a nut. Toasted pistachio nuts give a delightful buttery finish to this matzoh crumb crust and point up the richness of the sour cream topping, so that it need only be lightly slathered on the fish.

Simple but delicious, this comes together very quickly.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional butter or oil for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup coarsely ground matzoh crumbs (egg matzohs are excellent for this if you use them during Passover) or matzoh meal
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest and/or—for a sassy seasoning with just a bit of heat— teaspoons of prepared white horseradish, drained
  • 1¾–2 pounds red snapper fillets (or other nonoily white-fleshed fish fillets)
  • Lemon wedges

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread the pistachios on a foil-lined baking sheet and toast until fragrant, shaking the pan from time to time, 8–10 minutes. Toast the matzoh crumbs or matzoh meal at the same time: Melt the butter in a small baking dish in the oven; add the matzoh crumbs or meal, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the pistachios from the oven and let cool slightly. Chop the nuts coarsely by hand or with a few pulses in a food processor. Combine the pistachios with the toasted matzoh crumbs or meal. Raise the oven temperature to 400°F.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, onion, lemon zest, and/or horseradish. Lightly grease a baking pan large enough to accommodate the fish fillets in one layer. Sprinkle the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the prepared pan. Spread the sour cream mixture evenly over the fish and top with the pistachio-matzoh crumbs. Bake just until the fish is opaque throughout, 10–15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve with lemon wedges.

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