washingtonpost.com  > Print Edition > Weekly Sections > Food

Snapper From the Caribbean

Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page F04

Stuffed Whole Red Snapper

4 to 8 servings

The traditional Caribbean Easter meal includes a whole red snapper that has been rubbed with jerk seasoning and stuffed with chopped callaloo leaves (see Glossary), or with okra and other flavorings such as onions or bell peppers.

This recipe comes from Selvyn Wright of Brown's Caribbean Bakery on Georgia Avenue in Washington. Wright relies on Walkerswood brand bottled jerk sauce, though you may use any homemade or bottled jerk sauce; the spicy sauce will flavor the skin but not the flesh.

One fish provides very generous servings for two people, says Wright.

2 red snappers (3 to 4 pounds each), cleaned and gutted but with head, tail and scales intact

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Callaloo leaves rinsed and coarsely chopped (may substitute okra or mustard greens or bok choy)

2 to 4 tablespoons jerk sauce (bottled or homemade), plus additional to taste

Lime wedges (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the entire fish (it may be necessary to trim the tail).

Rinse the fish under plenty of cool running water. Pat it dry with paper towels.

Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper and, if desired, add a little jerk sauce to the cavity. Stuff the cavity with a handful of chopped callaloo or other greens. Rub the outside of each fish with 1 to 2 tablespoons of jerk sauce; the exact amount depends on how hot you want your fish to taste. (The peppers in the sauce are quite strong and hot, so you may wish to wear gloves to prevent your hands from burning.)

Cover with foil and roast until the fish can just be flaked but is not falling apart: 35 to 40 minutes for a 3-pound fish, 45 to 50 minutes for a 4-pound fish.

Using 2 wide spatulas, carefully transfer the fish to a serving platter. If desired, remove the skin. (Using a sharp knife, make a small slice through the skin behind the fin and, using a fork, roll the skin from the fish.) Serve immediately, with lime wedges if desired.

Recipe tested by Michael Taylor; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Ingredients too variable for meaningful analysis

© 2005 The Washington Post Company