In Australian waters, it’s snapper season. Caught along the Southern Australian coast from September to March, this fish is versatile, user-friendly and very delicious. In the Guide to Fish, the fish that are profiled are coded green (a better wild species choice) or amber (think twice before you buy this wild species too often) determined by their current populations.
Snapper is coded amber – enjoy it but not too often.
Snapper is an easy fish to cook and eat – in fact, if you’re new to eating fish, it may be a good one to start with. Snapper has a very balanced flavour: there is a wonderful ocean saltiness to its flesh and it finishes slightly sweet on the palate making it only easier to mix and match with different styles of cooking and different ingredients.
Whole baked baby snapper is a great way to start to learn how to cook whole fish. It doesn’t take too long and you can stuff it and season it with any herbs and spices that suit your mood.
I’ve kept this recipe very simple – add whatever herbs you like.
Whole Baby Snapper
2 baby snappers, whole, scaled and gutted
1 lemon, sliced in to rounds, half a centimeter each
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oven to 180C.
Place the lemon slices in the cavity of the snapper and then season the fish with salt and pepper and slice diagonal slices across flesh of the body. Wrap the snapper with greaseproof paper and then alfoil, place on an oven tray and put in the oven for 12 minutes.
Take the fish out of the oven and open the alfoil and paper and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. Check it with the cooking thermometer. If it is 65C inside serve it up with lots of lemon, bread and salad.
Wine: Try a pinot gris from the Mornington Peninsula or perhaps, a viognier from Heathcote, both regions are in Victoria, Australia.
Beer: Enjoy a conditioned ale pluck with fruity yeastiness