Baked Red Snapper with Lemon and Tarragon

red snapper

Fish seldom make a midweek dinner, but that shouldn't be a reason not to make this quick and easy recipe tonight. Most people think fish is too fussy to prepare and cook, so it's usually made on rare occasion. However, fish should be eaten at least twice per week for their many nutritional values including omega-3 fatty acids. What better way to add fish to your diet than by using the easiest of methods, baking. With one fish per person, this recipe works well for a quiet evening alone or a rowdy dinner party among friends. Enjoy a healthy meal in well under a half an hour any day of the week.

Red snapper is one of the most popular fish. It's flavorful, flaky, and tender. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that is complemented by many spices and fresh herbs. This recipe features the flavors of lemon and tarragon, with lemon adding a hint of citrus and tarragon lending an anise flavor. On the outside the fish is sprinkled with saffron for a unique flavor and earthy aroma. For optimal freshness, purchase fish the day of cooking or the day before. Store fresh fish over a bowl of ice in the refrigerator until ready to use. Look for red snapper that has clear, red eyes and bright red skin that fades to white toward the belly.

Baked Red Snapper with Lemon and Tarragon

2 whole red snapper (about 1 pound each)
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
fresh tarragon
1 lemon, thinly sliced
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Clean and rinse fish inside and out. Snip off all fins except for tail. Pat dry. Cut slits into the skin on both sides of each fish. Salt and pepper inside and out.

Stuff inside of fish with tarragon and lemon slices.

Transfer fish to a baking sheet and coat both sides of each fish with oil. Top each fish with a small pinch of saffron.

Bake for 20 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes. Fish should flake when tested with a fork. Yield: 2 servings.


  1. This looks so great I will try it this weekend. Although I cook fish at home every week, it is always a file. Thanks for your simple easy to follow instructions!
    p.s. White wine or red?

  2. I am a huge fan of snapper, but have yet to cook it whole. Love the addition of tarragon and will definitely have to try this soon!

  3. This looks great, Joseph! Bravo! Let's cook soon...

  4. Dear Agnes,
    I would recommend a white wine. A Chardonnay would make the perfect wine match with red snapper. Thanks!

  5. These look lip smacking delicious! I'd love to have some for dinner too. Off to the Asian market I go. Thanks.

  6. A great way to use an underused fish. Well, underused in my kitchen, anyway!

  7. i love your blog.

  8. I just got Martha Stewart Living today...and they have almost the same picture! Way to be ahead of the curve!


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