Whole Roasted Snapper with Caper Butter Sauce Recipe

Southern Kitchen
Roasted Snapper Stoneware

About the recipe

A whole fish cooked in a stainless-steel roasting pan can be a show-stopping entrée for your guests or even a weeknight meal for two if you're feeling ambitious.

Use a sturdy pan such as a stainless-steel roaster that can take direct heat on the cooktop. That gives you the option of making a delicious pan sauce right in the cooking vessel, incorporating all the flavors you'll develop in the roasting process.

When selecting whole fish, ask your fishmonger to remove the scales, guts and gills — even trim the fins for you. If you’re serving four people, choose a fish on the larger size; one 2-pound fish will be a generous serving for two diners.

Serves: 2 to 4

Hands On Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes



1 (2- to 3-pound) red snapper, scaled, guts and gills removed

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to brush the fish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

3 sprigs fresh dill

Caper Butter Sauce

1 shallot, minced

3/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons capers

2/3 cup chicken broth

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the fish: Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and lightly brush the skin with olive oil. Season the skin and inside the cavity with salt and black pepper, then stuff the cavity with lemon slices, shallots and dill.

Heat a large stainless-steel roasting pan on high heat until almost smoking. Add the olive oil and gently place the fish in the center of the pan. Sear on high until the bottom layer of skin is crisp and releases from the pan, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the fish starts to flake when gently touched, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the fish to a serving platter.

To make the sauce: Place the hot roasting pan on a burner over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and capers, and cook until the wine has reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter, two tablespoons at a time, until the sauce is creamy and emulsified, then stir in the chopped dill. Pour the sauce over the cooked fish and serve immediately.