When it comes to cooking a supreme fish I'm always keen to keep it as simple as possible so as not to hide the natural flavours of the fish. Snapper definitely falls into this category and I will usually just dust fillets with seasoned flour before gently frying in a bit of butter and some olive oil. The flour forms a crisp coating on the fillet, keeping the flesh moist without masking its flavour.
There are also some times when I like to get a bit more adventurous when cooking fish though and a few extra ingredients can gently change the flavour and texture of the fillet and provide a different eating experience.
One of my favourite and most enjoyable ways of cooking snapper is in foil with a few herbs and spices and then serving with rice or crispy potatoes. To me this is the best way of cooking snapper on the barbeque as the flavours stay with the fish and allow it to steam in its own juices.
A really social and fun way to cook a bunch of snapper fillets with a bunch of mates is to slice up a wide variety of ingredients and allow people to choose which ones they want before placing them in the foil parcel with the snapper and a knob of butter. Ingredients such as garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon, pine nuts, coriander, basil and parsley are all good with snapper and people can mix and match as they like.
I think the delicate flavours of Asia are best used with snapper as they are light, fresh and don't come close to overpowering the delicate flavour of the flesh. The best thing about this type of cooking is that it is completely changeable and can be easily suited to anybody's taste.
Here's my favourite foil-wrapped snapper recipe:
Asian-style snapper parcel
1 good-sized snapper fillet
1/2 clove of finely chopped garlic
1/2 inch of grated ginger
1 small, finely diced chilli
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Place a small knob of butter and a few slices of onion on a piece of tinfoil big enough to wrap the fillet in with the shiniest side facing down.
Place the fillet on the onion slices and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Place the garlic, ginger and chilli on top before squeezing over the juice of the lime, the sesame oil and a few finely chopped leaves of coriander.
Make the parcel by bringing all the edges of the foil together and pinching closed so that it is as air-tight as possible.
Place the parcel, flat side down, on a hot barbeque or flying surface and cook for around 10 minutes depending on the size of the fillet before serving with steamed rice.
Note: exactly the same recipe can be used to cook a whole snapper wrapped in foil, just increase the cooking time to around 25 minutes and turn once after 10 minutes.
Another great way to eat your snapper is to cook it as you would usually and serve it with simple sauces, relishes or salsas that can be placed either over the cooked fish or next to it so that you can control the amount you eat.
Crispy skin snapper with caper and lemon salsa
Snapper fillets, skin on
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1 shallot or small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbs of finely chopped capers
Small handful of parsley
1 lemon, juice and zest
Score the fillets lightly in a criss-cross direction without cutting to deeply then fry, skin side down, in the butter halfway before turning the fillets and finishing on the other side.
Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Place snapper on a serving plate with the salsa either placed on the fish or next to it. Crusty bread goes really well with this.