Snapper Grilled with Fragrant Pepper

Tai no Sansho Yaki

Snapper and sea bream belong to the group of fish called tai in Japanese, and since their name resembles the word medetai (“congratulations”), these fish are often served on happy occasions such as weddings. This method of grilling with fragrant pepper is one of my favorites.

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces fillet of snapper, about 4-5 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried sansho (fragrant Japanese pepper)
  • 1 small lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Method

  1. Rinse the fillets under cold water, making sure that all scales have been removed from the skin. Remove any belly bones with tweezers. Pat the fish dry. Marinate the fillets in the rice wine for 10 minutes, turning the fish once after 5 minutes. Pat the fillets dry again.
  2. Lay the fillets, skin side up, on a disposable foil broiling pan. Lightly brush the skin with vegetable oil, then sprinkle it with half the salt and half the fragrant pepper.
  3. Place the fish fillets under the broiler, skin side to the source of heat. Broil under intense heat for 2½-3 minutes. The skin will begin to blister a bit, and the edges of the fish will curl slightly and become opaque. Using a broad spatula, carefully flip the fillets. Brush the flesh with a bit of oil and sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper on the fish.
  4. Broil for 2-3 minutes, until the flesh becomes opaque and ever so slightly charred at the edges. Again using the broad spatula, carefully remove the fish to serving plates. Serve the fish hot, with lemon wedges on the side.

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