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A Sure-Footed Fish

Grotto's snapper scarpariello

Don't let the English translation for snapper scarpariello ($19.95) keep you from trying the hearty dish at Grotto [3920 Westheimer, (713)622-3663; 6401 Woodway, (713)782-3663]. Though scarpariello loosely translates to "shoes," the entree really doesn't taste like worn old leather. You'll be relieved to know that just the opposite is true: This crispy treat is crunchy to the last bite, despite being drowned in a tangy garlic and red wine vinaigrette. The secret is homemade Italian bread diced into tiny cubes, not pulverized into standard breadcrumbs. A basic egg wash binds the cubes to the fish, which is sautéed briefly, and then finished in a hot oven. The final step is a topping of jumbo shrimp. The whole thing will leave you walking on air.

 
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