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May 18, 2013 09:32 AM

How long to bake or broil whole red snapper?

I have 2 red snapper filets about 1.5 lbs each and planned to season with garlic, ginger and scallions. I would love to broil as crispy skin would be wonderful but if that's not recommended the backup plan was to bake or steam. How long would do you broil a whole fish of this size? Or bake?

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  1. Until it is just done. Seriously, don't go by time.

    1. So I'm confused...is it "two, 1.5# filets", or "whole fish"? Both would take to broiling very well. Just be mindful not to burn the finely minced aromatics. Either, or I'd start off by slashing the skin side as few times. As I like my fish a little on the under side 3 to 4 minutes for filets, and 5 - 8 minutes for whole fish depending on thickness. Pan searing, and oven finish is best for crispy skin.

      3 Replies
      1. re: letsindulge

        I apologize I'm so used to filets. It's 2-1.5 lb whole fish. Great, thanks. I love steamed fish but not sure if the texture of the skin would be very appealing to eat.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          They would also be very good cooked on a charcoal grill. That's my favorite way for whole red snapper.

      2. From my most used kitchen reference "Timing is Everything":

        General timing for whole fish or large pieces over 1 pound 8-9 minutes per inch of thickness (firm white fish).

        Details for broiling large sized fish:
        Preheat broiler and position rack so fish will be 4 inches from the element. Put .25 - .5 inches of wine or water in the broiler pan. Use melted butter or oil to brush fish. Broil, basting on occasion. Do not turn fish. Add seasonings just before the fish is done.

        I prefer smaller sized pieces since they require less time. That allows the seasoning to be applied at the beginning and also allows the fish to be turned.

        6 Replies
        1. re: meatn3

          Wow, thanks for the reminder. I own this book and somehow always forget. duh!

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            It's the only book I actually keep in my kitchen. I seldom cook from recipes so it is used frequently to determine temp/timing!

            I did a baked, stuffed snapper a few months ago and it was delicious. I like the skin crispy so I finished it with a brief broil and it worked out nicely.

            1. re: meatn3

              Well, I just discovered the book of all places on the bedroom floor. I was probably planning some meal or perusing and just left it there. Yes, I'm quite excited as it's one of my favorite fish. A brief broil sounds like a good plan, did you undercook a little bit?

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Iirc it came out just right at the lower end of the time tale in the book. Since I wanted crispy skin under the broiler I ended the bake earlier. Came out perfect! I stuffed with lemon slices, garlic, capers and parsley I think Left some lemon wedges in the pan to roast which intensified the flavor nicely.

                Your photo below looks beautiful! I have mixed feelings when I steam fish. I love the resulting flavor and consistency of the meat but I really miss having the skin crisp up. I guess with a little foresight I could remove the skin and put it under the broiler and enjoy it as it's own course!

                1. re: meatn3

                  Yea, crispy skin is definitely a big bonus of skin-on fish!

          2. re: meatn3

            Thanks for the great cookbook recommendation! I followed your instructions, with slight variations. Included stalks of celery and green onion, along with plentiful branches of dill, lemons and white wine. Added chopped green onion near the end. Timing was perfect.

          3. The rule of thumb for fish generally, regardless of type or (usual) method of cooking, is ten minutes per inch, measured at the thickest point.

            1. Your advice here so far is great. But let me add a point of technique: when I cook whole fish, I usually score the flesh deeply, which allows aromatics, diced chiles, lemon or lime juice, all kinds of seasoning, into the fish. It also makes it easier to inspect the doneness of the fish, because you can see inside.

              Another thing: I usually give the fish a half hour or forty-five minutes on the counter with the seasoning, to bring the internal temperature up a bit and let the flavors work in.

              1 Reply