The name Snapper was given to this fish by Captain Cook. Snapper is found everywhere and has lustrous pink scales; older Snapper have a distinctive bump on the head and a bulge on the snout.
Sold whole, in fillet and cutlet form.
To buy whole Snapper, look for lustrous, bright pink skin, bright, bulging eyes; firm flesh and a pleasant fresh smell.
Fillets and cutlets should be lustrous with no brown markings, a pleasant fresh smell and not oozing water.
Scale, gill and gut fish. Wrap whole fish, fillets or cutlets in plastic wrap or put in an airtight container. Keeps 2-3 days in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer providing your freezer operates at -18°C.
Scale, gill and gut fish. Score fish a few times diagonally on both sides to allow even heat penetration. Fins can be covered with foil for protection.
Don't forget to score also thick fillets. Large bone may be removed from cutlets before cooking.
Boning a red snapper
Head may be removed or left on when boning a fish. Scale, and clean fish. Slit flesh along the belly to tail pressing knife firmly. Cut with short strokes and lift the flesh away toward the centre backbone. Take care not to pierce the skin. Turn over and repeat steps.
Spread fish out flat and cut out the backbone with scissors or a knife. Discard. Trim off rib bones on both sides.
Snapper is an excellent table fish, having firm white flesh, with large flakes and a distinct yet mild taste. The larger the fish the coarser the flesh.
The head and bones make the best stock.
Whole Snapper can be filled with a choice of rice, pine nuts, grated lemon rind or assorted shellfish - prawns, scallops, mussels.
Fillets can be used in soups, casseroles and salads, as the flesh is moist and firm and doesn't fall apart easily.
Snapper goes well with tomatoes, white wine, basil, coconut, curry, citrus fruits, parsley and coriander.
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