Richard Fernandez, sous chef

Mercat a la Planxa

638 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL

Check Out:

Fiesta De La Tomatina



Seared Red Snapper, Salsa Verde, Blistered Tomatoes 


  • 8oz x 2 Red Snapper or other fish fillets, skin on, pin boned, scaled  
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil) 
  • Kosher salt to taste 
  • Black pepper to taste 

Instructions to cook Crispy Snapper 

  1. Dry skin: Pat skin dry with paper towels. This is a good time to check for scales and remove by scrapping with your knife. 
  2. Scoring skin by cutting slashes into the skin. Using your thumb and index finger, fold the fish up and use knife to create three slashes about 1cm apart, 2 – 3mm deep, through the skin and ever so slightly into the flesh. 
  3. Season fish: Sprinkle the flesh and skin with the salt and pepper just before cooking. 
  4. Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat until you see the first small wisps of smoke. 
  5. Place one fillet into the pan skin side down, then use your fingers or spatula to press down lightly for 10 seconds to allow the skin to seal flat against the hot surface. You can feel the fish trying to curl, as soon as that sensation stops you are good. Repeat with the other fillet (PROS: Do both at the same time!). 
  6. Cook the skin side for two to three minutes until the skin is crispy in the center and golden and the flesh is cooking ¾ of the way up.  
  7. Once the fish is cooked three quarters of the way up, flip to finish the other 25% of the fish. 
  8. Serve by placing Snapper on a plate skin side up. Serve with tomatoes, salsa verde and lemon. (Do not pour sauce on the skin until just before serving or else it will soften the fish skin.) 

Salsa Verde Ingredients 

  • ½ bunch chopped cilantro, with stems     
  • 2 oz (1/4 cup) mint           
  • 2 oz (1/4 cup) green onion            
  • Small, diced Fresno chili 
  • 2tsp coriander, whole, toasted, then ground   
  • 2tsp cumin, whole, toasted, then ground  
  • 3 oz (6T) Jerez sherry vinegar 
  • 1tsp honey          
  • 1each lemon zest              
  • 1tsp Pimentón Dulce        
  • 1 oz (2T)olive oil                
  • Salt to taste 

Instructions for Salsa Verde 

  1. Toast spices over medium heat.  
  2. Once spices are toasted, add to blender. 
  3. Add remaining ingredients into blender and turn on high. 
  4. Blend until most pieces are chopped. 
  5. It will separate after blending, will need to stir before each use. 
  6. Label and date and keep cold.  

Blistered Tomatoes 

  • 1 clamshell of heirloom tomatoes 
  • Olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic finely chopped  
  • Salt to taste 
  • Pepper to taste 

Instructions for Blistered Tomatoes 

Stovetop Method 

  1. Heat a sauté pan and add oil. 
  2. Once oil is hot, place tomatoes of the flame. 
  3. Season with salt, pepper and garlic. 
  4. Cook till the skin starts to blister and pull apart. 

Oven Method 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F  
  2. Season the tomatoes. In a mixing bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper. Toss well until the tomatoes are evenly coated. 
  3. Place on a baking sheet with parchment. 
  4. Roast 10 minutes till the skin starts to blister and pull apart. Just want the tomatoes to almost pop, a key sign is if they barely begin to split.