Red snapper is an exotic-looking fish, with its beautiful red body and white firm-textured flesh, which has a delicate sweetness to it. It’s often paired with Caribbean flavours, and when baked whole its sweetness and moisture are locked in.
- 1 whole red snapper, approx. 2kg/4 lb 7 oz, or 2 smaller ones, approx. 1 kg/2 lb 4 oz, scaled and gutted
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1⁄2 tsp ground allspice
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salsa
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 25/1 oz butter 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- bunch of spring onions, chopped
- 1 small pineapple, peeled and cut into 0.5–1cm/1⁄4–1⁄2 in dice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar large
- handful of chopped coriander
Time taken 25 minutes Serves 4
Place the snapper on a baking tray. Mix together the olive oil, thyme, ginger, allspice, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Rub all over the snapper, including inside the cavity. If there is time, leave to marinate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Bake the snapper for 25–30 minutes, basting a couple of times with any juices, until it is firm to touch and the skin is golden.
For the salsa, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and butter and, once the butter has melted, add the chilli and spring onion. Cook for around 1 minute, before stirring in the pineapple and rice vinegar. Cook for a couple of minutes so the pineapple releases some sweet juices and heats through. Stir in the coriander, and the salsa is ready.
When the snapper is cooked, serve it with the pineapple salsa.
This aromatic blend of spices will work well with most whole fish so if snapper is unavailable you could use sea bass, bream, talapia, trout, red mullet to name a few.
Images and recipes from The Flexible Pescatarianby Jo Pratt, photography by Susan Bell, Quarto, RRP $39.99