Whole Snapper With Vernaccia & Green Olives


1 x 3kg snapper, gilled, gutted, scaled

Salt flakes, to taste

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups fish stock

4 cloves garlic, finely sliced

30 Bosane olives, cheeks cut from the pit

2 cups Vernaccia di Oristano (or any dry white wine)

150g butter, diced

⅓ cup finely sliced flat-leaf parsley leaves


Remove snapper from the fridge 30-40 minutes before cooking. Cover and set aside in a cool place to come to room temperature. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, trim the snapper’s fins and tail. Thoroughly rinse the belly cavity, removing any blood; pat dry. Score on both sides with 5 or 6 diagonal cuts, angled towards the tail, just through to the bone. Sprinkle both sides of the fish generously with salt and pat it into the skin.

Heat a large baking dish on the stove top. Add oil and, when hot, place the fish into it, scored side down. Cook for about 6 minutes, until skin is crisp, then turn and cook for a further 4 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Meanwhile, place fish stock in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Scatter the garlic and olives over the top of the fish add Vernaccia. Bring to the boil then add hot fish stock.

Cover tightly with a double layer of foil and place in oven for about 25 minutes, until fish is cooked through, basting frequently. Check the flesh where the fish is scored, the flesh near the bone on the thickest part of the fish should be white.

Remove from oven, place fish on a platter, cover loosely with foil and set aside in a warm place.

Place baking dish on stove top over a high heat, bring cooking juices to the boil and boil until reduced by a third. Whisk in the butter. Stir in parsley and spoon sauce over the fish.


This article was provided by Giovanni Pilu, ILVE’s official ambassador, exclusively for Women’s Health.

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