Snapper comes in many
sizes, making it very versatile. It is excellent as
a buffet piece, whole, filleted or as cutlets.
Snapper is superb smoked and is also becoming
popular for sashimi.
The heads and frames of
snapper are sought after as they are excellent for
use in finfish stews and stocks due to their colour
and sweetness of flesh.
A tender, white to pinkish
flesh and a sweet and mild flavour make snapper a popular and
versatile finfish, suited to poaching, steaming, frying, baking,
grilling, barbecuing, smoking or sashimi. Try deep frying
fillets in batter or crumbs and serve with tartare sauce.
Alternatively, leave snapper whole wings, head and all score
well on both sides, and deep fry. Serve with sweet chili,
coriander and lemongrass dressing for a perfect result.
Snapper is sold whole (gilled and gutted), in cutlet, steak
and fillet forms. Other breams are generally sold whole
(gilled and gutted), only occasionally as fillets, usually
already skinned. In whole fish look for lustrous skin, firm
flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for
firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or
oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell. Flesh
colour varies from the creamy pink of snapper to the pinker
flesh of yellowfin bream, tarwhine, and pikey bream all of
which may have some dark veins showing. Black bream’s flesh
is slightly greyish and frypan bream’s has a yellowish tint.
Make sure whole fish is scaled, gutted and cleaned
thoroughly as soon as possible (completely remove the lining
of the abdominal cavity and the white fat along the
abdominal wall). Wrap whole fish and fillets in plastic wrap
or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3
days or freeze whole fish for up to 6 months, and fillets
for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.
Cooking & Serving
Breams are best steamed, poached, pan-fried, baked, grilled
or barbecued. They’re a good plate-sized fish cooked whole
and the bones (especially of snapper) make excellent stock.
Snapper has a more delicate flavour than other breams and a
slightly firmer flesh that breaks into large flakes, though
larger fish tend to have slightly softer texture. The edible
skin can be left on. All breams, including snapper, have a
mild, sweet flavour, and are moist and relatively low in
oil. Those which live in estuaries and rivers, notably
tarwhine and black bream, can have a slightly coarser, muddy
or weedy flavour, which can be balanced by cooking with soy
sauce, ginger and other Asian spices.
For every 100 grams raw product
for Snapper fillet.
Times for Fish
- Fish fillets – 5 minutes per 500g on medium-high, +50
seconds more for thicker fillets, or until flesh flakes
- Whole fish - Large – 6 minutes/750g on medium
- Whole fish – Small – 3-4 minutes on medium
for this fish:
Colour of Raw
White to pinkish.
Medium flakes (coarse in large
Low to Medium.
Delicate, sweet to mild.
Distinct fishy flavour.
Recipes using Snapper - From How to Cook
Size and Weight
Commonly 600g-1.5kg and 30-45cm, but can grow to 4kg and 58cm.
Sold mainly whole (gilled and gutted) and occasionally in fillet
form (usually skinned). In whole fish look for lustrous skin,
firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look
for yellowish-white, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any
brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea
Make sure whole fish is scaled, gutted and cleaned thoroughly as
soon as possible (completely remove the lining of the abdominal
cavity and the white fat along the abdominal wall). Wrap whole
fish and fillets in plastic wrap or place in an airtight
container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze whole fish for
up to 6 months, and fillets for up to 3 months, below -18ºC.
Average yield is 35%. Has a mild, sweet flavour, low oiliness
and moist, soft-medium flesh.
Steam, poach, pan-fry, bake, grill, barbecue. A good plate-sized
fish cooked whole, flesh also works well in mousseline.
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