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Pan Seared American Red Snapper in Pineapple Habanero Cream sauce

This recipe was first posted in 2016. We are coming to a close on the 2018 Red Snapper recreational fishing season here on Florida’s Gulf Coast. This has been the longest season for recreational anglers in a number of years.  So, to commemorate and close out the season (and, because we’ve been promising Capt. Paulette Barret, Dream Catcher Charters the recipe) we offer this “smokin” Red Snapper recipe.

American Red Snapper (ARS) is the subject of considerable conversation around dinner tables of fo;k living on the gulf of Mexico these days and not just for its culinary qualities. Sector Separation, catch shares, Us vs Them, and such are dominating the table talk. Set that, and yet another unbelievably short recreational season, aside the ARS is still a favorite fish to work with in any kitchen.

The flesh of ARS is variously described as being lean & medium, having a sweet nutty flavor and  mild & flaky. I fall somewhere in the sweet & nutty opinion. ARS can hold its own in a complex flavor environment.

Eat Red Snapper From The Gulf Of Mexico


The Fish

  • American Red Snapper – 1 lb
  • Butter – 2Tbsp
  • Oil – 2Tbsp
  • Cardamom – 1/4 Tsp
  • Saffron Threads – 15-20

The Cream Sauce

  • Heavy Cream – 1Cup
  • Pineapple – 3/4 Cup Diced
  • Habanero – 1/3 – 2/3 Julienned
  • Lime Zest – (optional)


Everything you need to prepare red snapper

These are most of the fixin’s (and one good sharp knife) for the dish. Nothing particularly fancy here. It’s all in how these few ingredients come together in the final product.


We start with the sauce. Chop, slice and dice your flavoring bits (Pineapple & Hananero) and combine with the cream in a small cook pot. The amount of Habanero is variable as it is not only quite hot but, can easily overpower the flavor profile of the dish. I recommend you start with a small amount first and adjust through the cooking process. The pineapple provides flavor and sweetness. If you desire, additional sweetness (sugar) may be added to taste.


cream sauce for cooking red snapper

Cook the sauce on medium-low heat to reduce and thicken. This can take 20 minutes or more so get started well enough in advance of your expected mealtime. Cook until flavors are perfect and the desired thickness is achieved. Remove from the stove top and set aside.


seasoned butter mixture for cooking red snapper

Partially melt the butter and mix in the Cardamom and Saffron threads.


preparing red snapper for cooking

Coat a clean, dry Snapper fillet with 1/2 of the seasoned butter. Set aside, refrigerated,until ready to cook.


Add the remainder of the butter to the oil in a big iron skillet. Heat the skillet to a medium heat.


When the oil/butter mixture reaches heat, add the ARS, cooking on both sides for 2 minutes each.


Start the plating process by placing a spoonful or two of the Pineapple Habanero Cream Sauce on your serving plate. If you choose, this is where you would add the lime zest. Just sprinkle it on the sauce.


Bring the ARS to the plate, top with a few more spoonfuls of the sauce and you are ready to head for the dinner table.



The juxtaposition of the Cardamom, Saffron Butter and the Pineapple Habanero Cream sauce create a subtle (depending on how much Habanero you used) and varied taste experience. American Red Snapper is perfectly able to pull this off and more. The dish, as shown here, is served with Dilled Green Bans.

Tight lines and enjoy.

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