Many home cooks shy away from serving a whole fish, but it’s surprisingly easy and the results are impressive.

When I first moved to the coast, I worked part-time at a local fish market. The owners encouraged us to take home fish we had never tasted or prepared so we could better serve the customers when they asked for advice on how to cook them. It really helped differentiate the various textures, flavors and ways of cooking each catch.

I was accustomed to preparing shrimp, scallops, fish fillets and other usual options that were available at my local grocery store in the mountains of North Carolina, but not whole fish.

At the fish market, most customers, like myself, shied away from the whole fish because it can be intimidating to cook. Now I know how easy and delicious it is to grill a whole fish.

For this recipe I am using whole red snapper because it is readily available from our waters and has a delightful sweet and delicate meat.

When picking your whole fish, be sure the fish has bright, clear eyes, is firm to the touch and has no overwhelming fishy smell. Ask the fishmonger to scale, gut, de-gill and score the fish for you so it is ready to go on the grill.

The presentation on this dish is unmatched and will have you looking like a fish-grilling pro. Served alongside a Mediterranean salsa, this grilled whole fish is not only healthy but enjoyable.

Photography by James Stefiuk

Print Recipe
Grilled Whole Red Snapper with Mediterranean Salsa
Many home cooks shy away from serving a whole fish, but it’s surprisingly easy and the results are impressive.
Grilled Whole Red Snapper Mediterranean Salsa
Course Seafood
Cuisine Seafood
Keyword fish, red snapper, Salsa
Servings
Ingredients
For the Fish
Course Seafood
Cuisine Seafood
Keyword fish, red snapper, Salsa
Servings
Ingredients
For the Fish
Grilled Whole Red Snapper Mediterranean Salsa
Instructions
  1. Ask your local fish market professional or fishmonger to scale, gut, de-gill and score a whole red snapper.
  2. You will need a fish grilling basket.
  3. Make the salsa a day ahead, if possible, for extra flavor.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the Mediterranean salsa and place in the refrigerator to marinate.
  5. Meanwhile, fire up the grill to 400 - 450 degrees.
  6. Prepare your fish by rinsing the cavity and exterior (removing any remaining scales) under cold water.
  7. Spray the grilling basket with oil and place your whole fish inside the basket; insert lemon slices in the slits of flesh as well as the cavity and put the bundle of herbs in the cavity of the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and close the fish basket.
  8. In a small bowl, mix the butter, white wine and garlic.
  9. Place the fish-filled grilling basket on the grill and liberally brush the fish with butter mixture (stand back because it will likely flame up). Grill for about 5 minutes.
  10. Flip the fish basket over and liberally brush the second side of fish with the butter mixture and remember to stand back. Grill for another 5 minutes.
  11. Serve whole with the Mediterranean salsa and garnish with fresh parsley.