Red Snapper with Sweet and Spicy Pickled Grapes

This dish includes the pickled grapes that helped Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford nab the coveted title. Just make them and you'll see why—they have the perfect balance of heat and sweet, plus they're juicy and very aromatic.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 thin strips of orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh clementine, mandarin or orange juice
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced (with seeds)
  • 1/2 pound seedless green grapes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Four 5-ounce red snapper fillets

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small saucepan, toast the coriander seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, orange zest, lavender flowers and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and bring to 
a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the lime juice, clementine juice and chile. Let the brine cool completely, about 45 minutes.

  2. Strain the brine into a medium bowl. Add the grapes and let pickle at room temperature for 15 minutes. Drain the grapes, return them to the bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Reserve the brine for another use.

  3. Season the snapper fillets with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add the fillets skin side down and gently press with a spatula to flatten. Cook over moderately high heat until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook until white throughout, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter or plates, spoon some of the pickled grapes on top and serve.

Make Ahead

The drained pickled grapes can be refrigerated for 1 day.

Suggested Pairing

Bracing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published August 2016

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