Grilled Red Snapper with Chinese Pear Beurre Blanc


This is a first for Galley Pirates…the first post ever created from a powerboat galley. I know we lay claim to cooking only in sailboat galleys. And we still will. But when a pirate gets a chance to occupy the galley of a beautiful old trawler, what a score! A front opening refrigerator, an electric stove with a vent. And counter space. The boat we’re cooking on today, Indian Summer, also happens to be in northern Florida so we can take advantage of local Asian pears and red snapper.

Grilled Snapper with Asian Pear Beurre Blanc

For a print-friendly recipe see below

1 1/4 sticks butter, total
2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
15-20 Chinese pears, peeled, halved and pitted
1/2 lime to squeeze on the pears
1 lb fresh shiitake or mixed wild mushrooms
1 lb fresh snow pea pods
3 large red snapper fillets (2.5-3 lbs)
Olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Atlantic Seafood

First stop, Atlantic Seafood, Fernandina Beach, Florida. So old school they don’t even have a website. Gotta love it! It’s one of our absolute favorite places in the world. You might remember last year we sailed from Amelia Island up to Charleston on Gary and Torie’s lovely Hylas 54 with a booty of shrimp recipes. This time we’re on a …ahem ahem… trawler. But it’s all good.

fish at the market

We didn’t have any particular fish in mind for this recipe, just a nice firm, fresh white fish. Looks like they have a good supply of red snapper here. We needed a fair amount since we’d be feeding 9. Three large heavy fillets purchased and we’re off…

asian pear tree

Now for the pears. The Asian pear trees on our friends’ property were filled with perfectly ripe yellow pears. They are about the size of a chestnut, much smaller than the pears you get at the market. A 10 ft ladder and pair of shears made the harvesting task very easy.

pears in a bowl

After picking about 20 off their trees, it was time to peel and pit them.

pears cut open

Peel and pit the Asian pears. If you can’t find Asian pears, try Seckle pears or Bosc pears. You’ll want about 1 1/2 cups chopped into 1” in size pieces if using larger pears. Squeeze lime juice on the pears so they don’t turn brown (they may anyway, but no worries. The discoloration disappears as you sauté them in the wine.) Set aside.

snapper fillets

Salt and pepper the fish fillets.

shallots and butter

Mince the shallots and sauté in 2 tablespoons butter. Add the wine and white wine vinegar. Bring to a low simmer for 5  minutes.

pears into pan

Next, stir in the pears pieces. Reduce heat and let simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add about one teaspoon sea salt to taste.

making asian pear sauce


Add the snow pea pods and mushrooms. On low, simmer the vegetables until just cooked through; the pea pods are al dente and bright green. (We added a grilled chicken fillet, seen below, to our feast for the skipper who can’t eat seafood.)

add pea pods 2

Chop the remaining stick of butter into 6-8 pieces. Push the veggies to the outside of the pan as best you can to create to a pool of sauce in the middle. One by one, drop the butter pieces into the middle of the pan and let melt. It should not boil or separate. Remove from heat if it gets too hot. Adjust seasonings with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

fish on the grillMeanwhile, get the grill going for the fish. We chose to use aluminum foil on the grill just to keep it clean. You’ll need a little olive oil on the foil to keep the fish from sticking. The fish won’t get that nice browning on the outside as it would grilled directly over the flame but it will still cook through. Grill until the fish flakes easily with a fork, turning once, about 15 minutes, depending on the heat of your flame. The fish can also be panned fried or oven baked.

mikeCarefully remove the fish from the grill and place on a platter. The best serving dish we could find was a nice clean cast iron pan. Looked like it had never been used. You see, this is how powerboaters like to cook:

menusPour the sauce over the fish and let those flavors and butter soak into the fillets for a couple minutes before serving.


And let the evening carry on with ample room for drinks and stories on this beautiful trawler.


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