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. Slideshow: Recipes for Whole Fish 

April 2000


Credit: © Con Poulos

Recipe Summary

40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.