Nothing says, "Summer is here!" better than whole grilled snapper! This recipe is a staple in my household. My dad's family is from New Orleans, so of course we had to represent those flavors in this delicious seafood dish. We often serve it with steamed rice or to kick it up a notch, Creole rice.
For the red snapper: Rub the coarse sea salt generously on the inside and outside of the red snapper. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Lightly oil the grill grates and heat the grill to 300 degrees F.
For the creole stuffing: Heat a cast-iron skillet on the grill over direct heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Once melted, add the celery, bell peppers and white and green onions and cook until softened and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 additional minutes.
Combine the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice, kosher salt, Creole seasoning, dried thyme, dried sage, cayenne and remaining butter in a bowl and mix until well blended. Add the sauteed vegetables to the stuffing mixture and mix. Set aside.
Wipe off the salt from the red snapper and stuff it with the stuffing mixture. Secure it with cooking twine (remember to remove the twine before serving). Place the lemon rounds on the grill and place the red snapper atop the rounds. Grill until the flesh is opaque, about 25 minutes.
For the creole rice: Saute the andouille sausage, stewed tomatoes, white onions, bell peppers and butter in a cast-iron skillet on the grill over direct heat until lightly browned and shiny, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the Creole seasoning, dried thyme and dried sage to the skillet and stir. Add the cooked rice and stir until uniform in appearance.
Place the stuffed red snapper onto the rice and serve.
Have your local seafood market gut and scale your snapper for you.