A whole fish can be quite intimidating to cook, the trick is to get your fishmonger to do the hard work of scaling and cleaning the fish. After that it is very easy to have your meal ready in 30 minutes.






Skill level

Average: 2.7 (977 votes)


  • 1 x 750 g snapper, cleaned
  • 1 large lemon, finely sliced
  • ½ bunch oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 2 tsp lemon thyme salt
  • 50 g butter
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed, drained

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Rinse the fish and dry with paper towel. Score the flesh of the fish in several places on each side and place in to an ovenproof frying pan or baking dish.

Fill the cavity and slits of the fish with the lemon slices, oregano and garlic slices. Scatter over the olives, drizzle with olive oil and season with lemon thyme salt.

Bake for 20 minutes or until fish is opaque when the flesh is flaked with a fork. If it is not cooked return to the oven and continue for another 5–10 minutes.

During the last 5 minutes of the fish cooking place the butter in a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and cook until the milk solids on the base of the pan have turned a golden brown colour and the butter is foamy and smells nutty like “hazelnuts”. Once it gets to this stage immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice and capers to prevent the butter form burning.

Pour the lemon beurre noisette over the fish and serve with a fresh leaf salad or a selection of steamed greens.


Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.