Baby Snapper with Basil and Orange Crust (05 / 50)

Wow, already one tenth of the way through this project, and it’s still only January!

I like fish, but I’m not very adventurous when it comes to cooking it. Once a week or so we will have pan fried salmon, which I am slowly improving at. Maybe twice a year I will do a steamed snapper with ginger and shallots, and I can also make a nice fish and zucchini curry using a paste. Like I said, not very adventurous.

I have always loved the sight of a whole fish on a plate. A whole fish, just for me! But while my mother the doctor can dissect a whole fish and leave the bones completely intact, it takes me forever to eat a whole fish and I always struggle to get the bones out of every bite. Fish with the bones in is just such an effort! Actually I did pretty well this time around. I think the key is to be gentle when lifting the flesh off, and to make shallow explorations with the fork rather than trying to cut it like a piece of steak.

This recipe was very tasty, but I feel it could have had more orange flavour. However this could be because the orange I used looked and tasted rather anaemic, with a juicier and more flavourful orange this recipe would have been much more successful. I left out the tomatoes and served it with ratatouille instead.

Baby Snapper with Basil and Orange Crust

Serves 4 (I halved the recipe and made it for 2)
Preparation time –  10 minutes
Cooking time – 15-20 minutes
Recipe –


  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 100g toasted pinenuts
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4 small snapper (each one around 350g), scaled and gutted
  • 250g baby vine-ripened trussed tomatoes), to serve
  • olive oil, extra, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the basil, pine nuts, Dijon mustard, garlic, orange rind and juice in a food processor or blender and process until roughly chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the olive oil until mixture is combined but not entirely smooth. Set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut four or five 1cm-deep diagonal slashes in the thickest part of the fish on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the basil mixture over both sides of the fish, working the mixture into the cuts.

Place the fish in a baking dish lined with non-stick baking paper (if you need two baking dishes place one dish on a higher shelf and swap shelves halfway through cooking).

Place the tomatoes around the fish, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fish is cooked through when tested with a fork – the flesh should flake. Divide the snappers and tomato among serving plates and serve immediately.

Baby snapper with basil and orange crust

Baby snapper with basil and orange crust


One thought on “Baby Snapper with Basil and Orange Crust (05 / 50)

  1. Pingback: Ratatouille (04 / 50) | Misteri's Randomness

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