Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lemony snapper with buttered beets and carrots

Unlike professional chefs, we home cooks can make what we want when we want--even if the combinations seem surprising. I'm not trying to imply that I'm the most creative girl on the block. But I do sometimes get an idea about something and it's nice to have the freedom and solitude of your own kitchen to experiment.

The other night I wanted to do something with the beets and carrots sitting idly in the crisper. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but I'm nuts for carrots. And I like beets pretty well too. I began to envision a little...dare I say medley? of these two Crayola-colored vegetables, smothered in butter.

I boiled the beets first--undercooked beets are the worst--then cooled and peeled them. Once the butter foamed and faded in my frying pan, I added the carrots, cooking them over medium heat. After awhile I added the beets. Feeling froggy, I decided to add a little brown sugar, thinking my southern husband might enjoy a little added sweetness. But to balance it, I finished the dish with a splash of red wine vinegar. No need to be cloying.

Once done, they looked like bright little gems, and they tasted of butter and sugar, with a slight tanginess.

"But Hungry Dog," you're wondering, "surely you served more than just vegetables for dinner!"

Why of course, dear reader, don't be silly. I pan-fried two red snapper fillets and squeezed fresh lemon juice over them as they came off the heat. I never can get fish like snapper browned properly without dusting it first in flour, which I didn't feel like doing this time, so the fish ended up a little pale. It tasted good, though, and looked pretty with the sweet and sour beets and carrots.

So, it was a strange combination that wouldn't fly with Tom Colicchio, but he's not invited over anyway. It seems the whole point of cooking for yourself and your loved ones is to have a good time, and to try and learn something now and then. Which I did indeed.


  1. That's totally the goal. I eat strange combos all the time, it's fun. :)

    Heh, I haven't had beets since I was a kid. I liked them then, but not for their taste. Because it bugged one of my sisters that I would eat them. Ah, childhood. I've actually been meaning to try them again, with carrots and butter sounds great.

  2. I love beets. I think they're an under-appreciated vegetable. We should have a Beet Appreciation Day, I'm thinking!

    These look wonderful. And with all that color, the pale snapper looks perfect. What a great idea. I love to see what we come up with when there's no pressure on us.

  3. Hooray for beets! I'm a fan too..this combo looks superb - and so beautifully coloured. I love sweet, sour, salty flavours.

  4. yep, beets and carrots are two of the most spectacularly-hued vegetables in all the world, and i'm sure they made for a tasty side. :)

  5. Bob: I guess that's as good a reason as any to eat beets! but maybe now you'd like them as an adult, for real. they're great roasted.

    Kate: I'm with you on Beet Day. My sister has some kind of beet-chocolate cake recipe...I need to try that one out.

    shaz: Yes, it's really the colors that inspired me to begin with!

    Grace: Most definitely!

  6. I dunno. Don't sell yourself short. Top Chef Tom just might love this, indeed! Looks pretty tasty to me. ;)

  7. Go Team Unique Food Combinations. I also love mixing odds and ends together. It looks like you made a beautiful food discovery!

  8. Food Gal: Thanks!

    denise: it's part of the fun of cooking, no? Just seeing what works...