If you love seafood, this Baked Whole Red Snapper dish is just right for you. It’s so simple to make with very little active cooking time. For me, it’s not only a lovely meal but it brings back memories of summer time by the beach in the Mediterranean.
The Art of Baking Whole Fish
Even though cooking a whole fish may seem intimidating to many, it’s really easy and fish will taste so much better than fillet. You can make the fish crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. You never have to worry about dry fish again. Also, the taste is wonderful and you don’t have to disguise it with sauces.
Simple is better!! Salt, olive oil and lemon are the basics. You don’t need a lot to cook whole fish. Than you can add more flavor with garlic and herbs.
- Buy fresh fish when possible
- Make sure fish is clean from insides and scales.
- Season outside and inside with salt, olive oil and lemon plus any extras you like.
- Bake at 425 degrees F until fish is flaky (it depends on size of fish). The skin start getting golden brown. You can broil for a minute or two just to make the skin crispy.
- Add more fresh lemon before serving and serve with a big fresh salad.
Seasoning Red Snapper
This dish doesn’t have a lot of seasonings, it’s rather a simple dish. However, the few ingredients used make such a big difference and bring forth the delicious taste of red snapper.
Tips & Notes
If you’ve never baked whole fish before or cooked red snapper, here are some extra tips besides the recipe instructions below.
- Try to buy the fish already clean, it’ll save you time. Also, if you have no experience with the process it can be quite difficult at first. Back home we used to clean the fish ourselves, but here in US it seems standard that most places sell the fish already clean from the insides and scales which is perfect for cooking whole fish.
- Buy the fish on the way home and start cooking it shortly after you get home. If you bought frozen fish, thaw the fish overnight in the refrigerator. Place on a bowl or large platter so it doesn’t leak to your other food items in the refrigerator.
- Red Snapper comes in different sizes. In the Mediterranean and in some other countries where fish is served whole, it’s often customary to order the fish size in the restaurant or beach family style. Usually the size of the fish depends on the the size of the group you’re with. It’s always a treat to see a big fish delivered to the table and the restaurant will cut it and serve it right there. For my family I usually buy one individual fish per person of about 1.5 lbs each. For a family of 4 I buy about 3 fish and usually the kids share one.
- Salt – I love using Mediterranean coarse sea salt for this fish. It really makes all the difference in flavor to me.
Baked Whole Red Snapper
- Standard Oven
- 3 red snappers about 1-1.5 lbs each
- 5 tbsps olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp Mediterranean sea salt
- 2 lemons get more for garnish if needed
- 2 tbsps fresh dill
- 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Make sure snappers are clean from the insides and scales have been removed. Pat dry with paper towel. Season with olive oil inside and outside. Add sea salt and pepper as well generously inside and outside of each fish.
- Sprinkle olive oil on the baking dish and make sure the surface is well oiled so it's not sticky. Add the fish and arrange so all 3 fit. Cut slits or score each fish 2-3 cuts on the upper side. Add lemon slices on the cuts. Sprinkle lemon juice generously over, inside etc.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until fish is flaky. This depends a little on how thick the fish is. Usually the skin becomes golden with brown edges when it's ready. Broil for a minute or two if you like crispy skin. Don't broil for too long so fish doesn't dry up.
- Serve on a platter with greens of your choice and a big salad. Sprinkle more lemon juice over the fish on the platter. Add plenty of lemons slices everywhere so your guests can add more lemon as they serve the fish. Enjoy fresh:)).
- Word of warning – fish can have little bones, try to avoid those and help kids break their fish in small pieces to avoid eating the small bones.
- Work around the big skeleton when you eat the fish and watch out for the little bones. The bigger the fish, the easier to spot and remove the small bones
If you’d like to save this recipe for later, please save the below image to your boards in Pinterest. Feel free to ask questions in comments or show off your version of this recipe in social media and tag me:).
More Seafood Recipes
Feel free to check out additional seafood recipes from my blog:
- Whole Baked Branzino
- Chilean Sea-Bass in Cast Iron Skillet
- Shrimp Tomato Sauce Pasta
- Salmon Onions Casserole
- Smoked Salmon Crostini