Grilled whole snapper stuffed with wonderful aromatics and topped with a Veracruz inspired salsa made with tomatoes, Spanish olives, and capers. Red potatoes cooked until just tender, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette and finished on the grill… my mouth is watering just writing this!
Now, the order of cooking may seem a little backward, but it is this way so that each component of the dish gets maximum flavor infusion. The fish gets to cure a little with the aromatics, the ingredients of the salsa can meld while the potatoes cook and then get tossed warm with the vinaigrette.
Grilled Whole Snapper with Veracruz Salsa and Lemony Potatoes
For the fish:
2 whole snapper (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds each), cleaned and dressed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, sliced. 1-2 Fresno chilies (sometimes called red jalapeños, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
8 sprigs marjoram
For the salsa:
1 1/4 cups ripe tomatoes, seed and diced small
1/2 cup roughly chopped Spanish olives with pimiento
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced pickled jalapeños, plus 1 TBSP pickling juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
Juice from 1/2 to 1 lime
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into wedges
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Prep the fish:
Season the snapper inside and out with salt and pepper, divide the aromatics in half and stuff the two fish. If using a flexible grilling basket as I did, that’s all there is to it. If not, secure the opening with a few toothpicks. Set aside in the fridge until ready to grill.
Make the salsa:
Simple. Combine all the ingredients, taste and then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Prep the potatoes:
Add potatoes to a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil and cook until just fork tender. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, marjoram, a pinch of salt, a few grind of black pepper, and olive oil. When potatoes are finished, drain well and add to bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss and set aside until ready to cook.
Bring it home:
Remove fish from fridge. Set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. If cooking on the grill grate directly, make sure it is very clean and well-oiled (it also wouldn’t hurt to lightly brush the fish with oil). If using the grilling basket, first spray the basket with cooking spray and then secure the fish. Lay potatoes along the sides of the grill and the fish in the center. Cook potatoes on each side until marked. Cook the fish for about 7 minutes per side or until flesh is just firm.
Transfer fish to cutting board and remove the fillets by running a knife, starting along the back, between the flesh and bones; turn fish over and repeat. Transfer to a platter with potatoes and salsa. Serve immediately.
Cheers and Happy Grilling -