Poisson d’avril

Red snapper

It’s not a joke.

We woke up this morning to three inches of snow. And despite the fact that snow is not going to be welcomed in April, especially as I had starting gardening, I found this white coat covering the hill, garden and roofs of the houses around us beautiful to look at. It was quiet.


“We had more than one foot of snow on April 1st when I moved to Boston in 97”, P. reminded me, as he was looking though the window. New England is a region where the seasons are full of surprises. And that’s also what makes the place so special.

In the meantime, what I had kept for you was a red snapper recipe. The kind of recipe you like to have handy when you are short with time. Very simple. Fresh and delicious. I cooked it en papillote with herbs, lemon, olive oil and fennel. We enjoyed it with riz pilaf and salad on the side.

And vanilla custard to finish.

Our everyday food, at its best.

Vanilla custard

Poisson d’avril, or not, I wish you a bon weekend. I hope for the rebirth of Spring next week.

Red snapper cooked with fennel, lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs

Red snapper with fennel

For 2 people

You need:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 whole red snapper, scaled and cleaned
  • 1 Meyer lemon (or 1 lime)
  • 3 twigs of lemon thyme
  • 3 twigs of coriander
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
  • Australian Flake Salt, to taste
  • Sechuan pepper, to taste
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced


  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Take a large piece of parchment paper (or foil) and place it on the working surface in front of you. Drizzle with olive oil and place the fish on top of it.
  • Slice the lemon in halves. Slice one half, keep the other.
  • Inside the fish, add 1 garlic clove, 1 kaffir lime leaf, 3 twigs of lemon thyme, 3 twigs of coriander and 2 slices of lemon. Season with salt and Sechuan pepper.
  • On top, add 1 fennel bulb and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Close the papillote with another piece of parchment paper (secured with string) or a piece of foil. Bake the fish for 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy with rice and salad on the side.
Posted in Dessert, Fish, French Inspired, Gluten Free, Life and Us


  1. Oh my goodness! You’ve brought me fond memories of my wonderful French teacher and her exasperation as she tried to explain Poisson d’avril to a bunch of unruly American teenagers. Thank you for the bright hues on this dreary New England day.

  2. I could stare at these photos for HOURS!

    Lovely. Tasty. Simply amazing.

  3. Spring can be so full of surprises; but I must admit, it keeps us on our toes! Je vous souhette une bonne weekend:)

  4. I’m not even much of a fish person, but your photos certainly make me want to try it…

  5. Well, I hope very much, your garden will “survive” this snow break 😉
    I can remember as we had snow in June!! It was so unexpected but also fun 🙂

  6. Simple amazing! Beautiful photos and colors, and a really tasty dish. And the little glas pots… oh my godness!

  7. Snow!! Noooo! I seriously hope we don’t get any more of that… even know it does look pretty.
    That Fish!! Looks amazingly good!

  8. I’ve never seen fish as beautifully photographed as this. Reminds me of how my mom makes fish – steamed with simple herbs to bring out its freshness 🙂

  9. Love to see that you use Australian Flake salt. Hope that it is the Murray River Pink salt flakes. They are very you. Red snapper is a very Australian fish. We often bake it just with bay leaves lemon olive oil and pepper.

  10. With snow it looks lovely,but I am happy we are going to have 25degrees today!in Berlin,Germany.Love your website,love fish!and amazing photos.Thanks as it brings joy to life! with all that is going on ,its really uplifting x

  11. Wow, c’est incroyable! Ici il comme à faire tellement chaud! C’est fini l’hiver, on est presque déjà rentré en été!

    Ton poisson à l’air vraiment délicieux!


  12. The first picture of the fish looks like a painting – it’s really beautiful. I always like a post with custard in it too. We’re just about to slip into the heat of Summer here in Dubai so making the most of our last fresh days.

  13. Beautiful! Beautiful! I think it’s fantastic that you’ve used kaffir lime leaves and sechuan pepper. I love cooking whole fish – and this looks incredible – all of the flavours (and the photos) seem so fresh!

    I hope your gardening survives the snow!

  14. You Blog turned out to be one the highlights of my week… especially for someone who loves to “cook french”, like me, it is like a paradise!!!! Congratulations for your beautiful “work”, which is done, undoubtely, with lots of love! Regards (also to your husband und Lulu).

  15. In my garden I have citrus thyme, it smells different and is not as yellow as lemon thyme. I dried it, and when cooked the scent and flavour is as if I was cooking with kaffir lime leaves! It is beautiful here, with buds starting to peek out , but I don’t trust Canadian weather so I didn’t remove the leaves from my garden, and sure enough we had a wet slushy snow, that didn’t last, but still a bit of frost on the ground this morning!
    Bonne find de semaine!

  16. I love the pale, delicate colors on your red snapper. I always fix it Caribbean style, with lots of onions and tomatoes and rice on the side. But I’m going to have to try it the “French” way as it sounds delicious. As always, I love the pale, shimmery colors of your posts.

  17. Je constate que malgré une température un peu frisquette à Montréal hier, nous n’avons eu que de la pluie. Aujourd’hui, grand soleil et 11°! J’aime bien cette façon de cuire le poisson.

  18. Hey Béa, it’s time to move to the southern hemisphere with a three month winter, as well as the availability of red snapper.
    This post reminds me of your lovely fish shots taken in the BVI. Gorgeous!

  19. Oh no! How frustrating to plan a spring garden and wake up to loads of snow everywhere, BUT you did get a nice snowscape pic out of it so at least there’s that. The photos of the fish are absolutely stunning, what a vibrant and enticing hue that snapper has! Love the olive oil and lemon slices on top too, sounds like a delicious combination.

  20. The joke continues. . . we woke up to snow this morning! The soft colors in your photos remind me of Spring though and my tulips are poking up through the leaves in our garden. I know the snow won’t last. Happy Sunday.

  21. Every time I see your blog I want to be in France. Merci . Jude

  22. Once we had snow at the end of April in Milan, which does not even have a special climate at all. I’m relieved the snow seems to be gone for now from Germany.
    I did not think it was possible to make a fish look that appealing, but you managed: your pictures are magic.

  23. Quelle belle photo du jardin couvert de neige… Ça me fait penser à la maison de ma mamie en France… Tes photos sont a couper le souffle!

  24. I really want to try cooking a whole fish. I just don’t know how to eat it once cooked with the bones. Several blogs have been showing whole fish recipes and they look delicious. I need to put this on my list of attempts! Your photography is truly fresh and beautiful.

  25. Bea – Spring IS coming your way! It was 65 and sunny here today in OH, so you will be getting that in a couple of days! 🙂 We got the snow, too, and sent it over there…sorry! ox Kit

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  27. i am so happy to see this! i am making my first whole fish this weekend, and (pending everything checks out alright at the fishmarket) i am going to do a red snapper. i love the papillote preparation, but i think i am going to try mine on the grill IF its nice out. thank you for posting this, and lovely pictures – i am always very inspired by you!

  28. If it can be of any comfort to you we had a record of 2 meter and 40 cm snow the 28th of April 1997! Location: Tromsø, Norway:-)
    And we do have delicious fish here, but not as stunningly beautiful as this one:-)

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