Posts Tagged ‘grilling’

Yellowtail Snapper Recipe – Three Ways

In February, I went with my family to Exuma, Bahamas.  We had lots of great experiences, and the memories of Exuma have come back to Minnesota with us in many forms, including the food.  We were fortunate to come back home with a cooler full of beautiful whole Yellowtail Snapper.  I wish I could say they are a part of my angling adventures, but we focused more on deep sea fishing.

Our last day on the island, I talked with Harris about bringing some fish home.  He is a local that spends lots of time on the water.  We spent a day with him catching lobster, conch and grouper and had an amazing shore lunch with him as well.  Harris said that he would see what he could do, and a bit later came back with two coolers full of beautiful Yellowtail Snapper (one for our family and another for the family we were traveling with).

I haven’t cooked whole fish in quite a while, probably since a trip to Mexico several years ago.  I’m not sure what exactly I was thinking fixing the Yellowtail three ways for my first attempt in a long time, but that’s what I did.

Grilled Citrus Herb Yellowtail Snapper

The first version I made was a citrus herb stuffed Yellowtail Snapper grilled whole. This was a pretty simple preparation.  First, I made sure the Snapper was scaled and cleaned well, and cut a few slits in the sides to add in more flavor.  Once done, I stuffed them with the following mixture:

  • Orange slices cut thin
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Garlic, crushed and chopped
  • Green onion chopped fine
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil (about a tbsp)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, let them sit for a few minutes to let the flavors combine.  Then stuff the cavity in the snapper full of the mixture and also rub the outside of the snapper with some of the liquid.  I took extra orange slices and wedged them into the slits in the fish as well to add extra flavor.

Grill on medium heat until cooked.  Mine took about 4 minutes per side, but I’m using smaller fish.

Grilled Habanero Salt Yellowtail Snapper

With this preparation, I cleaned the snapper in the same way as above.  Once clean, I used an absolutely fantastic combination that we were introduced to on Exuma.  It is as simple as it gets, but absolutely fantastic if you like a little heat:

  • 1 Cup of sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped Habanero pepper, seeds removed.  (use gloves so you don’t burn your skin)

Just mix those two ingredients together to incorporate the Habanero throughout the salt and store in a container for a few days to incorporate the flavor throughout the salt.  For the Yellowtail Snapper, I drizzled a bit of Olive Oil over the fish and then lightly rubbed the skin, slits and cavity of the fish with the mixture.

Grill on medium heat until cooked.  Mine took about 4 minutes per side, but I’m using smaller fish.

Salt Crusted Whole Yellowtail Snapper

The last preparation was something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.  I’ve seen it done on television, and it was time to give it a try.  This preparation involves completely crusting the whole fish inside a salt mixture and baking it until the salt has formed a hard crust, locking in all the great flavors while the fish cooks.  Since I hadn’t done it before, I looked at Yellowtail Snapper Baked in a Salt Crust recipe from Tyler Florence.  Like all of my kitchen adventures, I never follow a recipe exactly, but I had no idea how to do the salt crust, so I needed some guidance for that part.

Preheat oven to 350.

Before crusting the fish (same preparation as the previous two, but do not make slits in the skin), I stuffed the cavities full of the following mixture:

  • Thin sliced lemons
  • Fresh thyme
  • Green onion
  • Chopped sage (just a couple leaves)
  • Pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp of Olive Oil

For the crust: (taken directly from Tyler Florence)

  • 4 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • (I doubled the batch because I was doing 3 smaller fish and it was about right)

In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold in the salt to make a paste then fold in the remaining thyme leaves. Smear the salt paste over the entire fish and roast for 35 to 45 minutes. The egg whites will form a hard crust. Gently crack the shell with a spoon and lift off the salt crust.

What I learned is that it works well to made a bed of the salt mixture on the baking sheet, lay the fish on it and then cover the fish entirely.

The Verdict

All three of the preparations were very good.  My personal favorite was the most simple of the three, and that was the Habanero Salt Yellowtail Snapper.  The heat didn’t overpower the delicate fish, but imparted good flavor into the flesh.  I squeezed a bit of lime juice over it to finish it off and it was just delicious.

Second for me would be the Citrus Herb Yellowtail Snapper.  I really liked the flavor the orange brought to the fish.  It was light and refreshing.  There was a hint of cilantro as well, but I didn’t really pick up on the other flavors of the stuffing mixture.  I’ll do this one again for sure.

Last but definitely not least was the Salt Crusted Yellowtail Snapper.  It was delicious for sure, but I really don’t think that it was any better than the other two, and the preparation took more time and it was a bit more of a mess, so for that reason only, I’d say it was number three.  Another consideration might be that my Yellowtail Snapper are smaller than the one Tyler Florence used in his recipe, so maybe with a larger fish that has more meat, this might be a better way to go.  The crust really locked in the flavors and kept the fish tender and moist.

I have lots of Yellowtail Snapper left, so if you have a great recipe for them, I’d love to give it a try, let me know in the comments below.


Another great meal from Seseganaga Lake outpost

In an earlier post, Fly In Fishing Meal of Meals, I talked about what was probably my favorite meal from our fly in trip to Seseganaga Lake Ontario.  Well, it wasn’t an easy call, here is another meal from the trip.

What a beautiful looking grill!


Yea, we didn’t exactly rough it.  We did ribs, adobo shrimp, walleye and garlic bread.  Man, it was fantastic.  I’m a big fan of the adobo shrimp.  Here’s how it’s made:

Adobo Shrimp

2 pounds of raw shelled shrimp (I like somewhere between 8-15 count)
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup olive oil

Chop up the chipotle peppers into small pieces and add them and all the adobo sauce into a Ziploc bag.  Add the chopped jalapeno.  I like to leave the seeds for heat, but it’s your call.  Add the olive oil and mix well.  Drain the shrimp and add them to the adobo mixture and place in the fridge for 3-5 hours.  Place them on the grill and brush with marinade.  Grill both sides for about 2-3 minutes.

They are great right off the grill, or chill them and serve later for a great starter course.  Here is what they looked like from our 4th of July party at the lake:

Delicious Adobo Shrimp


At the outpost on Seseganaga Lake, there happened to be a bottle of Balsamic Vinegar, so I drizzled a balsamic reduction over the top and that was a sweet addition to the spicy shrimp.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.


A Meal Made For The Grill

What a great meal.  On July 2nd at the lake, I spent the day cooking (and a little fishing, but more on that in a later post).  The meal I prepared was smoked salmon and chicken with baby red grilled potatoes, corn on the cob
and a fresh salad with greens from my CSA Bluebird Gardens.

Chicken on the Weber Rotisserie

The Chicken
The night before smoking, I created a
brine for the chicken.  I cook to taste, so sorry, no precise measurements, but I used about 1 ½ gallons of water and added salt, fresh cracked pepper, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and cumin.
I brought that to a simmer for about 15 minutes to incorporate the flavors, and then removed it from the heat and poured the brine into a cooler.  From there I dumped in a bunch of ice to cool it and added
the chicken and left it for the night.

The next morning I removed the chicken from the brine, let it drain and seasoned both the skin and under the skin with a simple mix of salt, pepper and garlic salt and put it on the smoker for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  The last set was moving it to the rotisserie to crisp up the skin and finish cooking the chicken.

Chicken and Salmon on the Smoker

The Salmon

The salmon also needed attention the night before smoking.  I created a rub that contained 2 cups of salt, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar and a couple tablespoons of pepper.  I completely covered each salmon fillet with the rub, stacked them skin side to skin side and fillet to fillet and wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.  The reason for doing this is to remove all of the excess moisture in the salmon for the smoking

The next morning I removed the salmon fillets from the fridge and rinsed each fillet under water to remove all of the rub.  The last step before going to the smoker was to let the salmon sit on a baking sheet down in the cool basement with a fan blowing on it for about an hour until a skin formed on the top of the fillet.  This helps the smoke stick to the fillet.

Once that was done, it was off to the smoker as you can see in the picture.  They stayed on for a little over 2 hours at about 180-200 degrees.

Herb Potatoes on Holland Grill

This was a simple but delicious side.  I simply cut the reds in half and tossed them in olive oil and fresh herbs from the garden including dill, chive, parsley and basil.   I let them sit for a bit for the flavors to combine and put them straight on to the Holland Grill.  I love doing potatoes on the Holland Grill, they cook perfectly every time.

Three grills were put to work for this meal, but it was a fantastic way to spend a day at the lake.  Mixed with the perfect weather and a cold drink, it was a blast.  I’m already planning my next grilled meal.

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