Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Whole Roasted Red Snapper with Lemon and White Wine

If ever a food begged to be treated simply—and gently—it’s fish. Whether you’re pan cooking filets or roasting whole fish, the preparation should be light and easy. Heavy adornment drowns out the star attraction.

Whole fish are easy to work with and cook—just be careful when eating them. The scales and guts may be gone, but the bones are a-plenty. For this recipe, I bought two small red snappers, a little over one pound each, to make four servings. Olive oil and lemon are staples for fish, and the addition of white wine and a bit of butter creates a simple sauce that cooks along with the fish. Spoon it over each serving and you’re ready to eat.

Tip: The finished dish is pretty in the pan, but then you need to cut into it for serving. The delicate fish is bound to break apart, but here’s one method that may make the job easier: Slide a large spatula just beneath the top half of each fish (above the spine) and lift off as much intact flesh as possible. Once the top halves are removed, the spine (connected to the head) will be exposed. Lift off the spine and head (discard), then use the spatula again to remove the bottom halves of the fish.    

Lift off top side of fish
Remove spine and head
Serves 4

  • 2 1-1/4-lb whole red snappers, scaled and cleaned
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 thin lemon slices, each halved
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and stems
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided 
Cleaned Fish with Lemon, Wine, and Parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking pan (just large enough to hold the fish) with aluminum foil.
  2. Using a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal slits in 1 side of each fish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place 1 half-moon slice of lemon in each slit and place 1 slice in each cavity. Divide the parsley and pack into the cavities.
  3. Place the remaining 4 lemon slices in the pan and lay the fish on top. Place 1/2 tablespoon of butter on each end of the pan and pour in the wine. Cover the pan with another sheet of aluminum foil.
  4. Roast 20 minutes. (Be careful opening the top foil—hot steam will roll out.)
Insert Lemon Slices
Ready to Bake
Serve the fish with pan juices spooned on top.

Whole Roasted Red Snapper with Lemon and White Wine

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