Salt-Roasted Snapper with Caribbean Spices

Caribbean-Spiced Salt-Roasted Snapper on sheet pan
Photo: Ryan Liebe
Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

As well as red snapper, this elegant preparation can be used for any whole round fish in the same size range, such as branzino, sea bass, trout, or Arctic char. The salt crust ensures moist and flavorful flesh that (trust us) doesn't taste overly saline.


  • 1 whole red snapper (1 ½ to 2 ½ pounds), gutted and scaled

  • 2 pounds kosher salt (7 cups)

  • 6 large egg whites

  • 2 limes, zested (1 tablespoon) and sliced into ¼-inch rounds

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves removed from half of sprigs (¼ cup)

  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries, lightly crushed

  • 2 spicy chiles, such as Scotch bonnet or habanero, 1 chopped, 1 thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rinse fish thoroughly inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, stir together salt, egg whites, lime zest, thyme leaves, allspice, and chopped chile until mixture is thoroughly combined and has the texture of wet sand. Transfer one-thirdof mixture to a rimmed baking sheet; pat into a 1/2-inch-thick layer, slightly larger thanfish. Arrange half each of lime rounds, thyme sprigs, and sliced chile on top of salt, roughly inshape of fish. Fill fish cavity with remaining lime, thyme, and chile; place on top of salt mixture.Pour remaining salt mixture over center of fish; pat down with your hands to fully enclose body,with head and tail sticking out.

  2. Roast until fish is just cooked through and crust turns hard and golden, 25 to 30 minutes for a1 1/2-to-2-pound fish, 30 to 35 minutes for larger. Gently break away crust with a large spoon. Transfer fish to a carving board, remove skin and separate fish from bones with a serving fork, and serve.

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