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Crispy Boneless Whole Fish with Sofrito

Vegetable oil -- for frying
1 whole snapper - (2 to 3 lbs) -- remove center bones, keep head and tail intact
Salt -- to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper -- to taste
Flour -- for dusting
4 eggs -- beaten with
1 cup buttermilk -- as an egg wash

Sofrito:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow pepper -- minced
1 red pepper -- minced
1 red onion -- minced
4 garlic cloves -- minced
1/2 Scotch bonnet -- minced
1 tablespoon minced aji amarillo
1 fennel bulb -- minced
1 pinch saffron
1 cup amontillado Sherry
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
1 lime
1 bunch cilantro -- pick leaves and chop stems
Cilantro sprigs -- for garnish
Extra-large skewers for shaping fish, but small enough to fit in the pot


In a large deep pot, fitted with a deep frying thermometer, preheat 5 inches oil to 325 degrees.


Starting at the tail end, push the skewer crosswise just above the tail, and bend the fish into an "s" shape and attach the skewer through the head, just in front of the front fin.


Season the fish and dust with the flour. Place in the egg wash. Place back in the flour. Shake off excess.


Fry the fish at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through.


Season with salt and pepper when removing from the fryer. Set on paper towels to drain oil. Serve with Sofrito and garnish with cilantro.


For the Sofrito: In a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add all the dry ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes, until all vegetables are soft and the saffron is toasted. Add the wine, reduce half way. Add the stock and reduce half way. Finish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.


This recipe yields 2 servings.



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