Cooking Cuisine Food Recipe

Roasted Whole Red Snapper

I roasted up a a whole red snapper for dinner last night. For me, this dish evokes long leisurely meals in a warm Mediterranean beach town somewhere. Fancy restaurants in New York would charge 50 bucks or more for a dish like this, but you can do it a home for a fraction of the price. Here is how to recreate the experience in your own kitchen:

Roasted Whole Red Snapper

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. One whole wild-caught red snapper (or other firm white-fleshed fish), scaled and gutted
  2. One big shallot (or 2-3 small shallots, or half a small onion), thinly sliced
  3. Four or five cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  4. One small carrot, cut in half lengthwise, and then sliced on a bias into thin strip
  5. One cup or so of thinly-sliced fennel, include parts of the bulb as well as the leafy fronds at the top of the fennel
  6. One teaspoon of whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (but not totally pulverized)
  7. One small dried chili pepper, seeded and crumbled into small pieces
  8. A splash of dry white wine (Last night, I used some cava, which I also drank with dinner. Some rosé or a white vermouth would also work well here)
  9. One lemon – thinly slice up 1 half of the lemon into half-moons; reserve the rest of the lemon for squeezing on the finished fish
  10. Extra-virgin olive oil; salt & pepper to taste
  11. A handful of torn-up fresh coriander (cilantro) for garnish

Roasted Whole Red Snapper


  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 C).
  2. Combine ingredients 2-9 above in a mixing bowl. Mix in a splash of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Scrape off any remaining scales on the fish. Rinse off the fish in cold water and pat dry with some paper towels. Use a knife to score the fish every 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) or so on both sides as shown in the photos.
  4. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Place the fish on the foil. Rub the fish with some olive oil and season inside and out with salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff the vegetable mixture from Step 2 into the cavity of the fish. Place the remaining mixture around the fish on the foil.
  6. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until just barely cooked through.
  7. Serve with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, some more extra virgin olive oil and cilantro leaves as garnish.

I had some leftover ratatouille as a side dish. A simple Mediterranean side salad and/or some boiled potatoes would work great as well. As for wine, I had some Cava (sparkling Spanish wine), but a Portuguese vinho verde or some dry white or rosé would work too.

Roasted Whole Red Snapper

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