Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pan Seared Pacific Snapper & Mashed "Fauxtatoes"

Pacific Snapper Review: Tasty fish with minimal prep and cooking time.
Mashed "Fauxtatoes" Review: Tasted so real I'm never eating actual mashed potatoes again.

I'm going to jump right in with the Fauxtatoes, because I'm absolutely elated with how good they came out. I was dubious at first, thinking nothing could taste as good as real mashed potatoes, but this was amazing! My senses were completely tricked into thinking I was eating delicious carby mashed potatoes, when I was actually eating mashed cauliflower.

OK first off lets compare the nutrition in basic boiled potatoes, with boiled cauliflower (remember this is before you would add anything delightfully naughty into your mashed potatoes like butter, sour cream or cheese)


Although the cauliflower has slightly lower levels of a few things like fiber and protein, and higher fat, we're talking 10th's of a gram, while calories are substantially lower, and so are carbohydrates. Also the cauliflower is very high in Vitamin C. This all looks nice on paper, but I don't want to eat something healthy that tastes bad. I've tried doing "faux" foods before (like tofu that's supposed to taste like chicken) and really haven't been a fan, so I went into this with very low expectations.

I boiled the cauliflower with some garlic and 2 cubes of vegetable bouillon until it was very soft, and then used my kitchenaid to mash it. In retrospect it would have probably worked better to use a food processor. Mine ended up being a chunky mash, but I didn't mind. I used frozen crushed garlic from Trader Joe's. I love this stuff. Its the next best thing to fresh and cuts down on chopping. Like I said earlier I was incredibly happy with how this turned out. Kevin liked it too. Real mashed potatoes would be a bit of a calorie indulgence right now since we are both doing that whole new years resolution thing.

Cauliflower Mashed "Fauxtatoes"
serves 3
1 head cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced or crushed
4 cubes of chicken or vegetable bouillon
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Separate cauliflower florets by cutting off stalk. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add cauliflower, garlic and bouillon cubes. Boil for 10 minutes until very tender. Drain and mash to desired consistency. Add butter, salt, pepper and more garlic if desired.

Nutrition Information: Serving Size- 1 cup. Calories: 74, Fat 4.4g (saturated fat 2.5g) Cholesterol 10mg, Carbohydrates: 6.5g, Fiber 3.1g, Protein 2.6g
printable recipe

While I would probably be content to eat an entire bowl of the mashed cauliflower for dinner, since I wasn't cooking just for me I made it with some pacific snapper. I pan seared the fish and made a tomato and caper sauce to top it with. I'm trying to be more versatile in what I eat, usually I default to salmon for fish, but this was on sale, and the fillets were already prepped and ready to go. I'm pretty proud to say that I completely invented this myself while I was walking through Henry's trying to decide what to make for dinner. That is not at all my usual method for cooking. I like to compare recipes, read reviews and follow directions. I was originally intending to do a tropical mahi-mahi with fresh fruit salsa, but that plan was foiled since the only mahi at the store was frozen solid.

Pan Seared Pacific Snapper with Tomatoes and Capers

2 6oz Snapper Fillets
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium roma tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp capers
1 lemon
salt & pepper
Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add in diced tomatoes, capers, and squeeze the juice of a quarter of a lemon over the top. Cook for about 5 minutes until tomatoes become soft and form a chunky sauce. Set aside.

Add remaining olive oil to pan and increase to medium high heat. Slice remaining lemon very thin. Season fish with salt and pepper and add to pan. (the idea is to have the pan sear the fish so it will have a crispy crust to it)  Apply lemon to tops of fish and cover. Cook 5 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flaky. Remove lemon slices and top with tomato and caper sauce before serving.

Nutrition Information: Serving Size: 6oz of fish. Calories: 376, Fat 16.9g (saturated fat 1.9g) Cholesterol 81mg, Carbohydrates 8.3g, Fiber 1.6g
printable recipe

Our fillets were very thin and done in about 5 minutes.  I liked that the bottom of the fish was crispy, but the top was moist and flaky, I think the lemon helped stop it from drying out. I served it on top of the mashed cauliflower, with edamame. For an impromptu cooking adventure, the whole thing came together in about 30-40 minutes from start to finish, and was a great success!


  1. don't even want no fauxpotatoes. now that we got socialist obama care I want nothing but growin American Idaho Pototoes. And I'm going to add extra butter now that theres no cap on my insurance coverage and i can't be denyed for preexisting conditions. Go Jets, lay on the beach Bolts.

  2. Fauxpotatoes? My only question is about the bouillon cubes... a big source of MSG. SBe curious to try it woithout the bouillon and just some other seasonings. Will try it!

  3. @Anon- good point about the bouillon cubes- using actual veggie or chicken stock would cut out the MSG!!

  4. Many (most?) of the store bought stocks have msg too... so ne careful if you want to avoid that. Not too big a deal for me but that fwiw.