Whole Roasted Snapper with Black Mussels, Saffron and White Wine

posted: 06/30/10

Take Home Chef, Episode 92: Yolanda's Menu


  • 5 tablespoons/75 ml plus 1 teaspoon/5 ml olive oil
  • 2 pounds/900 g black mussels
  • 2/3 cup/155 ml dry white wine
  • Two 2-pound/900-g whole red snappers (each about 14 inches/35 cm long), cleaned, gutted and scaled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All purpose flour, for dusting
  • 2 leeks (white part only), halved lengthwise then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large pinch of saffron strands
  • 1/2 cup/120 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons/5 g chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 350?F/180?C. Place a large pot over a high heat. Drizzle 1 tablespoon/15 ml of olive oil into the hot pot. Keep 8 of the largest mussels refrigerated. Add all the remaining mussels to the hot pot. Cover with a lid and cook the mussels for 1 minute.
  2. Remove the lid and stir in half of the white wine. Replace the lid and gently shake the pan. Allow the mussels to steam for 2 minutes or until they begin to open. Pour the mussels into a colander set over a large bowl. Set juices from mussels aside. Remove the mussels from their shells.
  3. Reserve the mussel meat and juices separately. Discard the mussel shells. Place 2 large, nonstick, ovenproof saut? pans over a medium heat. With a sharp knife, cut three diagonal slits into the side of each fish. Turn the fish over and repeat on the other side.
  4. Sprinkle the fish cavities with salt and pepper then sprinkle the outside of the fish with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the fish with flour. Hold the fish over the sink and tap the excess flour off of the fish.
  5. Drizzle each hot pan with 2 tablespoons/30 ml of olive oil and gently place one fish into each pan. Cook for 3 minutes or until pale golden on the bottom.
  6. Transfer the pans to the oven and roast for 6 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven. Using a large metal spatula, turn the fish over.
  7. Using oven mitts, return the pans to the oven and roast the fish for a further 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and pale golden on the outside. You can tell that the fish is cooked when the meat is white through to the bone, which will be exposed by the cuts. If the fish is still translucent, return to the oven and roast for another minute or so.
  8. Remove the pans from the oven and transfer the fish to a warm platter. Tent with foil to keep them warm. Wipe out the excess oil from one pan and place the pan over a medium heat.
  9. Add the reserved 8 whole raw mussels to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the leeks, saffron and remaining 1 teaspoon/5 ml of oil to the pan and saut? for 3 minutes or until the leeks are tender.
  10. Add the remaining wine and simmer for 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the reserved mussel juices and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cream and the shelled, cooked mussels and simmer gently for 1 minute. Add the parsley and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture over the fish and serve.
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