How to Prepare Red Snapper
Red snapper is named after its bright red and pink metallic scales. It is common in the Caribbean and along the mid-Atlantic coast. It is a popular white fish because it has a nice mild flavor. It tastes wonderful roasted with fresh herbs and lemon juice. You can buy it whole or in fillets. Since it is a thin fish, it is best cooked with the skin on. Roasting it with the skin on not only gives the skin a deliciously crispy texture, it also keeps in moisture and prevents the fish from falling apart.
If you are planning on making red snapper tonight, here are a few tips for buying and preparing this delicious white fish.
#1 – Go to a Trusted Fishmonger
Since red snapper has become a popular fish, some fishmongers now use the name for any white fish even if they don’t have the same flavor profile. If you go to the wrong fishmonger, you could end up bringing home a less enjoyable kind of fish, like rock cod. This is why it is important to go to a local fish market or seafood counter with staff that you can trust.
#2 – Make Sure it is Fresh
Whether you are picking out whole fish or fillets, look for signs that it is fresh. When you touch it, the meat should be firm and should bounce back after you press it. If it is squishy then it is, most likely, going bad. It also should have a nice salty smell, like the ocean. It should not smelly fishy.
If you are picking out whole fish, the eyes should be red and clear.
#3 – Buy Smart
A rule of thumb for buying red snapper is that you should have ¾ of a fish per person. It should still have the skin on so that it cooks well.
Ask for the fish to be gutted and cleaned if you are planning to cook it whole and do not want to do it yourself.
#4 – Season it Subtly
One of the best ways to prepare red snapper is to rub it with a seasoning mixture and roast it over lemon slices or in lemon juice.
Beware of using strong seasonings. They can overwhelm the delicate flavor of red snapper. It is best to use milder seasonings like fresh herbs and lemon juice. Parsley, thyme, and garlic are popular seasonings for red snapper.
#5 – Score it Before Cooking
Before roasting red snapper, score the skin so that it will stay flat instead of curling up as you cook it. To do this, take a knife and make shallow cuts into the skin. This will also help the seasoning rub to seep into the meat instead of staying on the skin.
#6 – Cook on a High Temperature
Cook it at a high temperature, like 400 degrees, to lock in the moisture. Cooking it at a high temperature like this also means it will have a shorter cook time of 12-20 minutes. You will know it is done when the fish’s skin isn’t translucent anymore.
You can toss potatoes, carrots and onions into the pan along with fresh herbs to make a full meal or serve it with rice pilaf.
We hope that these 6 tips help you to buy and prepare red snapper. If you’re planning to make red snapper for dinner tonight, stop by City Fish Market! We support sustainable fishing practices and only sell fresh seafood. If you are looking for recommendations on fresh herbs and seasonings to use, ask one of our fishmongers behind the counter what they would suggest.