Hundreds of snapper species exist, named after their "snapping" teeth. American red snapper is a reef fish found in the Caribbean and along the mid-Atlantic coast. Its fine texture and sweet, delicate flavor earns it praise.
Buy snapper from a trusted source and ask questions, since the name "red snapper" is sometimes used to refer to similar but less desirable fish like the West coast rockfish. It is sometimes difficult to see the difference between true red snappers and other red fish.
Red snappers have bright red or metallic, pink skin and average 4 to 6 pounds, but they are usually sold in the 1-1/2 to 3-pound range, whole or filleted. Fillets should always be sold with their tasty skin, which holds the delicate flesh together. Whole fish should have clear, bright red eyes.
When cooking whole, score the fish two to three times crosswise through the thickest flesh, near the head. Whole fish can be broiled, grilled, pan-fried, steamed, baked or deep-fried. Fillets are good pan-fried or steamed. Similar fish include sea bass, halibut or striped bass.
Red Snapper Recipes