Snapper in Chile-Lime Sauce (Pescado en Chile-Limón)

Cooking whole fish doesn't get much easier or more delicious than this. Inspired by a dish she had in Mexico's coastal Veracruz region, chef Zarela Martinez, of the now-shuttered Zarela in New York City, quickly fries red snapper, then cooks it in a vivid tomatillo salsa.

Snapper in Chile-Lime Sauce
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
40 mins


  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husks removed

  • Salt

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped

  • 4 jalapeños, seeded and chopped

  • 4 cilantro sprigs

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1/2 cup pure olive oil

  • One 2-pound red snapper, cleaned

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the tomatillos with a pinch of salt. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook just until the tomatillos change color, 5 minutes. Drain and let cool. Transfer the tomatillos to a blender, add the lime juice, onion, jalapeños, cilantro sprigs, garlic cloves and 1/4 cup of water and puree.

  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Season the fish inside and out with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the fish to the skillet and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, 15 minutes.

  3. Tilt the pan slightly and spoon off the oil. Add the sauce and cook, spooning the sauce over the fish, until it is hot and the fish is cooked through, 5 minutes. Using 2 spatulas, transfer the fish to a platter. Add the butter to the skillet; swirl until melted. Season the sauce with salt, pour over the fish and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Lively, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc.

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