Whole baked snapper with tomato and avocado salad


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

A Simple Table

A Simple Table

By Michele Cranston

Published 2016

  • About

In this recipe I cooked the fish in the oven, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t cook it in a covered barbecue. I say that because this really is a summertime dish–fresh seafood, ripe tomatoes and fresh lemon and herb flavours–perfect for those lazy summer evenings outside, with a background chorus of cicadas and crickets.


  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) whole snapper
  • 60 g ( oz) butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 dill sprigs

Tomato and Avocado Salad

  • 400 g (14 oz/1 punnet) heirloom tomatoes (tomato medley), halved
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal
  • 25 g (1 oz/1 cup) celery leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 baby cos (romaine) lettuce, thickly sliced
  • 2 avocados


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Pat the fish dry with paper towel. Using a sharp knife, score the fish in a crisscross pattern on both sides. Place two large sheets of foil on the work surface, ensuring that both pieces of foil are longer than the fish. Grease both sheets of foil with some of the softened butter, then place the fish on top of one sheet of foil.

Thinly slice one of the lemon halves and place the slices in the fish cavity, along with two of the dill sprigs. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the fish and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dab the remaining butter over the top of the fish and finely chop the remaining dill. Sprinkle the dill over the fish and then cover with the second sheet of foil. Fold the sides of the foil over to seal the fish within the foil. Place the wrapped fish on a large baking tray and pop it into the oven. Cook for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the tomato and avocado salad, put the tomatoes, celery, celery leaves, vinegar and olive oil in a bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine. Put the cos lettuce in a large serving bowl. Cut the avocados in half, remove the stones, then cut the flesh into thick chunks. Add the avocado to the bowl with the lettuce, spoon the tomato salad over the top, then drizzle with the dressing.

Remove the fish from the oven and open the foil. Check that the fish is cooked by pressing the tip of a knife into the thickest part of the flesh–the fish is cooked if it flakes easily and is no longer opaque.

Carefully transfer the fish to a large serving plate and spoon over any of the cooking juices. Serve with the salad.