“This beautiful St Lucian fish dish is an exotic treat for the tastebuds. Chris and Dawn first tried red snapper on their Caribbean honeymoon, and we’ve recreated it for them here – lovingly marinated overnight, then roasted in the oven, complete with all the trimmings! The scotch bonnets are, I think, an essential part of the marinade – if you’re feeling (really) brave, leave the seeds in, but equally, if you want to be cautious, you could just use half the amount of chilli. Best enjoyed in the sun, with a loved one and a glass of something cold. ”
For the marinade, deseed the Scotch bonnet and pepper, peel the garlic, and trim and quarter the spring onions, then add to the blender with the remaining marinade ingredients, melting the coconut oil before adding. Whiz to a paste, loosening with a good splash of water, if needed.
With a sharp knife, score the fish all over on both sides, about 1cm deep. Pour over the marinade, rubbing it into the slashes you’ve made, then leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours to marinate.
For the salsa, deseed and finely chop the peppers. Cut a cross into the bottom of the tomatoes, plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds, then peel away the skin, and finely chop.
Peel and finely chop the red onion and garlic. Trim the cucumber and finely chop along with most of the coriander (stalks and all).
Chop and mix everything together in a bowl, stir in the vinegar and hot pepper sauce, then season to perfection.
For the beignets, chop the breadfruit into large wedges and cook in boiling salted water with the lid ajar for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender, then drain. Remove the skin and core, then mash while hot with a knob of butter. Add 2 tablespoons of the salsa, then season with sea salt and black pepper.
Shape heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls, then roll in the breadcrumbs and place on a tray. Put aside.
To cook the fish, preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7, and preheat a large non-stick roasting tray or ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. For the beignets, half-fill a large sturdy pan with vegetable oil, and gently bring up to 180ºC (or use a deep-fryer).
Place the snapper into the hot tray or pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until coloured and charred, then place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked through. To test if it’s done, insert a fork or small, sharp knife into the thickest part (just behind the head), and the fish should flake away.
Meanwhile, peel the plantain and slice in half lengthways. Place a frying pan on a medium–high heat, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then cook the plantain for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Carefully drop 6 beignets into the hot vegetable oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, crisp and they rise to the surface, then drain on kitchen paper (freeze the rest before frying, for another day).
Serve the fish with the plantain, salsa and beignets. Halve and destone the avocado, then scoop over little balls or teaspoons, and finish with a scattering of coriander leaves.
Save any leftover salsa for up to 2 days in the fridge for jazzing up other meals – delicious!