DENTICE AL FORNO (roasted red snapper in herbs, for four as a main course, for eight as part of a buffet)

one 4-1/2 pound whole red snapper

fresh herbs and seasonings of choice (lemon wedges, garlic slices, fresh sprigs of thyme, rosemary or parsley, olive oil)


1.  Take the snapper out of the refrigerator ½ hour before you plan it use it to allow it to come to room temperature.  Rinse the fish under cold tap water, inside and out, and pat it dry with paper towels.  Pre-heat the oven to 420* (turn it on a half hour before the fish goes in).

2.  Lightly oil a large, shallow oven-to-table baking dish. (Once cooked, a large fish is very difficult to move intact.  It is much easier to serve the fish in the dish you bake it in.  Your dish needs to be oven-proof, large enough to accommodate the fish, deep enough to hold a sauce and attractive enough to use on the table).  

3.   Rub the outside of the fish with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt.  Also sprinkle salt inside the cavity and tuck herbs (for example, lemon wedges, garlic and sprigs of rosemary or thyme) inside.

4.   Lay the fish into the prepared pan.  (If you are using rosemary, also place a sprig or two under the fish and one or two on top, together with a few thin slices of lemon and some sliced garlic, if you’re using it).

5.  Sprinkle fish well with oil, slide it into the middle of the oven and roast for about 45 minutes.  The fish will be done when the flesh near the backbone is no longer translucent and just flakes when prodded with a tooth pick.

adapted from

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