Pan-fried snapper with Sicilian salsa

The best way to get fish skin nice and crispy is to scrape the skin with a sharp knife and pat dry with paper towel to help remove moisture. Placing a weight on it while frying helps to keep the skin in contact with the pan.


  • For the snapper
  • 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 x 180g snapper fillets, skin on

  • For the Sicilian salsa
  • 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • Sea salt
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, roasted
  • 1 tbsp currants
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 handful dill, roughly chopped
  • ½ bunch chives
  • Roughly chopped freshly ground pepper


Heat 1½ tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Season each snapper fillet on both sides. Place fillets in the pan, skin side down. Cook for about three minutes with a weight on top – another pot or pan, perhaps – until skin is golden brown, then gently turn over and cook the other side for about one minute or until just cooked. Turn off the heat and allow fish to rest in the pan.

Meanwhile, heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a separate pan and add the onion and some sea salt. Cook until softened on a low heat, about five-eight minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the celery, the rest of the oil, the pine nuts and the currants, then the honey and the red wine vinegar. You should have a sweet-and-sour-tasting salsa.

Just before serving, add the dill, chives and a grind of freshly ground pepper to the warm salsa. Spoon a generous amount of the salsa onto each plate with the fish and serve immediately.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
Try the Oliver's Taranga Fiano 2016, McLaren Vale, South Australia.

Hailing from Sicily, and ideally suited to the climate of McLaren Vale, Fiano has wonderful, intense aromatics of pears, cashews and peach skin, while the palate is full of pears, ginger and spice. This makes it a great match with this salsa's pine nuts, raisins and honey, with a good balance of acidity to finish. A spring sensation.

First published in the Good Weekend.