Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Poached Vermilion Snapper

Perhaps you recall the poached pompano I made last week. The fish was so good I decided to try poaching some vermilion snapper this week. I used the same recipe and it was just as good.

Place fish in the fish baker; I had to cut off the tail to get it to fit. This time I added four pats of butter on top because I reasoned the snapper might not be as oily as the pompano. A little butter can't hurt the flavor.

Add a cup of white wine, juice of two limes, chopped ginger, chopped shallot, chopped cilantro, and a tablespoon of Vietnamese garlic and red chili sauce.

Place cover on fish baker and put in cold oven, turn heat to 400F and bake for 25 minutes. Remove fish baker from oven immediately and then remove fish from baker. Serve with some rice so you can spoon the herbs and juices over the rice.

I can't believe I've had this ceramic fish cooker since the 1970s and have used it only three times and two of those times were in the last two weeks. There is something about poaching fish; all the flavors of the ingredients added are concentrated in the fish. Not only that but that telltale smell of fish previously cooked in the home is not left after poaching the fish in this manner. At least not as much as frying or baking out of the liquid would be.

If you cook fish with the head on you can remove almost all the bones on one fell swoop. This hold true for many types of fish. Some fish, like bass, have another line of bones and it may not work completely. But with fish like trout and so many others this works great. After cooking grab the head (with a thick pot holder) and pull down towards the body cavity and back towards the tail. The whole skeleton should come away in one piece. With your other hand you may have to use a table knife to coax the flesh away from the bone. Sorry the skeleton photo is blurry but you get the idea. I really do recommend this fish baker to poach fish in, you can't go wrong. See poached pompano post for details about this vintage ceramic baker. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Your fish shape is perfect. It seems to go so smoothly.


  2. The Vietnamese garlic intrigues me. I haven't found it at the local farmer's market, I'm sure I'll have to look in an asian market. This sounds really good. I may have to make a casserole like this one for myself.

  3. Hi Elna, thanks, yes so easy and so delicious.

    Hi Lori, thanks, this is such a great piece of pottery, it has a small hole in the tail on the lid for steam to escape if you make one. It is glazed on the inside and not glazed on the outside.

  4. wow, far out!!! thanks for the tip regarding getting rid of the bones.

  5. like Lori, I thought it would be a great idea to make a fish poacher. Great tip on deboning. I've never been a fan of cooking fish with the head on it... for some reason it creeps me out.

  6. One thing I miss about living in Florida is the fish. Snapper and pompano, yum! Love the fish baker, what a treasure! Thanks for the recipe, too.

  7. Hi Gigi, thanks, I forgot to say that the bottom must be cut open to the tail along the midline that way you pull the bones right out of the end.

    Hi Michele, thanks, it is kind of creepy but I figure if I eat it I should be able to look at the head and not be creeped out. the head has to be on for the bones to come out much better. Don't forget to put a hole in the underside of the tail in the lid so steam can escape if you make one.

    Hi Charlene, thanks, we are so lucky to be able to get this fresh fish from a market family run and so close to us. There is one of these vintage fish bakers on etsy for sale. It works so well and is so nice to look at too.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment