Snapper perfect for summer

The versatile, friendly fish

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Guide to Fish by Hilary McNevin

Guide to Fish by Hilary McNevin [©Fairfax Books]

Snapper, from A Guide to Fish by Hilary McNevin


Snapper is such a versatile, friendly fish. He’s like that really friendly, funny guy at work who everyone loves talking to. He is completely without pretense and easy to handle. If you’re interested in cooking whole fish, and haven’t before, baby snapper is a good place to start.

SEASON - Caught along the coast from South Australia to Victoria between September and March.

FRESH FILLET - The fillet flesh is pale grey, deep and beautiful, with a dark, almost ruby bloodline.

TEXTURE WHEN COOKED - Snapper is a classic user-friendly fish with a flake that’s gentle to the bite, but which holds its own with various types of cooking.

FLAVOUR - Strikes a balanced flavour that sits comfortably between sweetness and saltiness, with a fresh, clean finish.

COOKING - A very adaptable fi sh. Baby snapper is lovely whole; fi llets love to be panfried, poached or deep-fried.

WINE - A wine with some complexity on the palate would get along nicely with the balanced fl avour of snapper. A pinot gris from the Mornington Peninsula or perhaps a viognier from Heathcote would do well.

BEER - Put a bottle of conditioned ale with this fellow as you kick back with some coriander and coconut rice. He would enjoy the fruity yeastiness.


RECIPE - Whole Baked Baby Snapper

2 baby snapper, whole
1 lemon, sliced into 5mm rounds
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat oven to 180C. Place the lemon slices in the cavity of the snapper, season the fish with salt and pepper then slice diagonally across the flesh. Wrap in greaseproof paper then foil and place on a tray in the oven for 12 minutes. Open the foil and paper and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. Check it with a cooking thermometer: at 65C inside it’s perfect. Serve with lots of lemon, bread and salad. Serves 2.


Here are six warm weather vegetables that are fun to put alongside this lovely fish:

  • Peas - Boil peas for 4 minutes and serve simply – nothing added, their seasonal sweetness will shine through
  • Green beans - Again, keep it simple with beans that have been boiled for a few minutes and then tossed gently with olive oil and sea salt
  • Cos lettuce - Make a simple salad of cos, croutons and fresh herbs dressed with lemon juice and olive oil
  • Cucumber - Peel and slice the cucumber and mix with black olives, preserved lemon and rocket leaves
  • Sweetcorn - Just enjoy it simply boiled or grilled
  • Savoy cabbage - Thinly slice the cabbage and combine with some grated carrot, chopped parsley, mayonnaise, red-wine vinegar and salt and pepper



A Guide to Fish by Hilary McNevin is published by Fairfax Books (sc, 2008) and is available from all good bookstores. RRP A$29.95 and Winepros Archive subscribers and Members can purchase A Guide to Fish at 12.5% discount off RRP from our book partners, Seekbooks (postage extra).

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