He Said “Spooky” — Il m’a dit “Effrayant”

Red Snapper


This is what P. told me when he saw the fish!

And I had to agree with him.

I don’t like the look on his face — the fish, I mean, ah!

But, I can confess, I love Red Snapper!

Do you like to cook whole fish as I do?

Especially in summer! Recipes to share? Bring them on!

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Posted in Fish


  1. I’ve never cooked whole fish but have always wanted to try salt baking one. I saw a “Good Eats” episode where Alton Brown stuffed a fish with herbs & lemons, then packed the whole thing in salt and baked it. Looked delicious!

  2. I really don’t like fish that much, but I’m always transfixed by how beautiful their colours can be. Red Snapper has that cool kind of “Silver/red hologram” look.

    Can you image that thing singing a song? Yeah…bet you are now.

  3. I love fish, especialy when it is served as a whole with lots of different vegetables ! I’ve backed a “dorade” once for an africain meal, the “ceebu en” [in french], it was really good.

  4. We just made a whole red snapper this past weekend! Sides slashed, rubbed with coarse sea salt and pepper, with cilantro and mint stuffed in as well. We stuffed the cavity with more cilantro, mint, and basil, along with paper-thin slices of lime, drizzled the whole thing with olive oil, and grilled slowly until crispy. Served it with a salad of watermelon, red onion, feta, lime, mint, and cilantro.

  5. I adore fish, but can’t bring myself to cook it whole. Crispy whole fish is something we often order in Thai restaurants — it comes stuffed with ginger and herbs, and is absolutely delicious.

  6. I was hoping you would have your ‘coin francaise’ . when it comes to fish and meat its so complicating.

  7. Thanks so much for the tips all! I actually make something similar to your stuffing Pete, except that I mix together lime flesh, juice, scallions, fish sauce and coriander. I will definitely try the versions you all suggest!

    Pessy, there is no coin français here because I did not have much to say yet 😉 Later for sure!

  8. criss cross the outside of the fish, lots of ginger, green onions into the belly and hot peanut oil over the whole fish, that’s how some of us eat it in Hawaii.

  9. I love red snapper! My go-to method is to bread fillets with a mix of flour and cornmeal (spiced up) and panfry. Simple and easy, if a bit messy. I’ve never come across a whole one – I’m jealous!

  10. For fresh snapper (and I mean fresh), I like to keep it simple – remove the scales but leave the skin on, clean it, lay some lemon wedges and garlic cloves in the cavity then wrap the whole thing in foil and bake it till the flesh is tender and falls off the bone 🙂

  11. Discard the body, just use the head for Malaysian curry fish head. Oooooh, so good…I mean, still save the body, and keep the head!!!

  12. I like cooking fish whole. In fact, i cook fish whole most of the time. Red Snapper is one of the fish i like to eat too. Can’t wait to see what you’d do with it.

    Me, i would fry it, then separately make a simple sauce with olive oil, garlic, shallots, can of chopped tomatoes or tomato paste [depending on what’s available], a little fish stock, salt + pepper, pour the sauce on the fried fish and garnish with green spring onions.

    That photo is gorgeous!

  13. Salut Bea ! En général au gros sel (parfumé avec plein d’herbes fraiches c’est délicieux !!) ou alors tout seimplement dans un plat avec de l’huile d’olive, des graines et des branches de fenouil… mmm le petit goût anisé !

    Et je ne le trouve pas effrayant du tout, juste……………. appêtissant !!

  14. Lovely photo! I usually like to cook snapper whole, and I serve it with a nice smooth mash, made with potatoes, olive oil and roasted red pepper. My other option is a lovely mille-feuille, with filleted snapper, sliced tomatoes , and mozarella. Drizzle with olive oil, put it in the oven, and add a few basil leaves when it’s cooked, delicious!

  15. I like cooking whole fish…in fact, when it comes to eating fish I much rather have them whole then filleted. I would either fry it (with just a sprinkling of salt and pepper) and make a separate sauce, or steam it with sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, lemon or lime, and cilantro. Mmmm! Can’t wait to see what you whip up!

  16. I am almost limited to fish on the grill. I stuff him with herbs from the garden, sea salt & fresh ground pepper, a few lemon slices, olive oil outside. Put him in the grill basket and onto the grill.
    He does have a funny look.

  17. We just grilled it for fish tacos–incredible! We used the recipe from the July/August issue of Blueprint (basically a spicy rub):
    And the pickled vegetable recipe from Epicurious:

    I love fish grilled or roasted whole, but in this case we purchased fillets fresh from the market.

  18. I would like to cook whole fish. That’s how we had them growing up. Fried small fish, steamed whole groupers…the problem where i live now I don’t really find whole fresh ones.

  19. Oh, those spooky eyes! I love the placement of fish head and tail together like that. Nice asymmetrical image.

  20. Oh comme il est mignon. J’adore ce poisson. Il ne faut pas oublier de manger les joues.

  21. Thank you very much for all of your suggestions. I think cooking the fish in salt is definitely something that I want to try. I will post about my recipe, but since we ate the fish and I was not able to take any pictures, I have to start again! No worries, we are lucky to live in a city where whole fish like this one are plentiful!

    Merci encore!

  22. We adore whole roast fish- one of our favorites is whole roast branzini. Put a few herbs in the cavity and roast at 400F for about 15 minutes. That’s it! Squeeze of lemon over top, it’s just right for 2 people!

  23. Ma petite recette du samedi quand je reviens du marché : un joli plat que j’amènerai sur la table, le poisson entier, des tomates cerises (beaucoup), des oignons nouveaux coupés en deux, du basilic et de la coriandre, de l’huile d’olive et un peu de vin blanc sec . C’est tout simple et tellement bon !

  24. Bea, absolutely. I was just about to put up a post (but will have to be next week) about baking fish. Have a very simple recipe, basically, clean, salt and pepper the fish. Soak a pinch of saffron in white wine. Marinate fish for a little bit with olive oil, fresh garlic (ground) and fresh mixed herbs (chopped-primarily majoram and oregano or thyme). Pour over the white wine and bake in a shallow tray. Pull it out slightly undercooked as it will continue to cook outside the oven. It’s delicious. As a variant, you can also line the stomach with herbs or with little tomatoes, squash and chopped japanese (mini) eggplant.

  25. We’ve been smoking whole fish when we are in Florida (though not snapper, of course.)

    I’ve had great snapper in Mexican restaurants (real ones) where the whole fresh fish is fried with garlic. Unbelievable!

  26. Mercedes, I do not think I have ever tried Branzini. On the list. Thank you!

    Merci Eva.

    Weylin, this sounds great. The saffron is a great touch.

    Christine, lucky you! I have never done this before! To try in the future, when I have the equipment, and space 😉

  27. I love steamed fish with a little soy sauce, rice wine, green onion, ginger, white pepper, and a bit of sugar. I also want to try the salt covered roasted fish.

  28. Growing up in Singapore, I’m actually used to eating whole fish, big and small. But when I cook whole fish now for me & my partner, I have to chop the head & tail off after cooking & serving it because it scares him too much 🙂

  29. Pingback: Sardines on the Gril Rule -- Les sardines grillées sont reines by La Tartine Gourmande

  30. Je pars bientôt pour la Jamaïque, je te ramènerai des recettes, c’est la bas que j’ai mangé les meilleurs Redsnapper….
    A bientôt!