Gulf Snapper on the Half Shell

Fresh Red Snapper filets from the Texas Gulf are grilled and basted over an open fire until crisp and a  little charred on the underside..

Gulf Snapper on the Half Shell

To prepare, filet fresh red snapper (or redfish), leaving the skin and scales in place to form a protective “half shell” that protects the flesh from the fire.

Lightly coat the grill grates with olive oil, then lay on the filets skin-side down.  Without moving the fish, grill until the underside is crisp and a little charred, basting all the while with a compound butter.  The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Example Compound Butter for Grilled Snapper

4 ounces pastured butter at room temperature
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1-1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together in a heat-proof bowl and keep near enough to the fire to keep it soft during use.

The single most sought-after offshore fish, Red Snapper are caught from reefs, rigs and banks along the entire Texas coast. Hand line, manual reels and electric reels are used, all equipped with heavy weights and multiple hooks. Bait with fresh squid or cigar minnows; live pinfish or pigifsh will catch larger snapper.

After years under protection due to overfishing, Gulf Red Snapper has made a welcome recovery.  The NOAA Fisheries Service opened a 48-day recreational season this past summer, with an estimated catch of some three million pounds (adults average from 2 to 5 pounds, but can be much larger).