How to Cook a Whole Mangrove Snapper


A whole Mangrove snapper is delicious when deep-fried to a crisp brown, allowing the flesh to stay flaky and moist. You can prepare a spice rub and cook your whole fish in just a few minutes for this classic Cuban dish. Present your fresh catch in a manner that respects the quality of the Mangrove snapper.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole Mangrove snapper
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • Deep fat fryer
  • Peanut or canola oil
  • 1/8 cup flour or cornstarch
  • Metal tongs
  • Splatter screen
  • Newspaper
  • Prepare your fresh, whole Mangrove snapper for frying by removing the guts and cleaning the empty cavity while leaving the head intact. The moisture in the head will send steam into the flesh to keep the meat moist while cooking.

  • Slash both sides of the fish three time with diagonal lines to expose more surface area of the fish. This will allow more contact with your seasoning mixture, more even cooking, and faster frying times.

  • Sprinkle the juice of half a lime all over the snapper, and then coat the surface with a teaspoon each of garlic powder, ground cumin, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

  • Allow the seasoned fish to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes while your deep fat fryer full of peanut or canola oil comes up to 350 degrees. The dry seasonings will draw moisture from the skin for a crisp brown crust after frying.

  • Dust your rested Mangrove snapper with 1/8 cup of flour or cornstarch before slowly lowering it into the hot oil with a pair of metal tongs. Hold a splatter screen with your free hand to protect your hands and face from popping oil.

  • After three to five minutes, the fish will be fully cooked and ready to remove. Take the snapper out of the oil and place it on a newspaper to drain and rest for a couple minutes before eating.

Tips & Warnings

  • Whole fried fish should be eaten right away after a 2-minute oil drain on newspaper. The fish will taste best while still hot and crispy on the outside.
  • Serve your whole Mangrove snapper with a fresh fruit salsa for an island-inspired treat your whole family will enjoy.
  • Frying fish in hot oil is dangerous and should be done outside or in the presence of a fire extinguisher.
  • Overfilling a fryer may cause an oil spill onto the heating element. Leave enough room for the oil to rise when it is displaced by your whole fish.

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