Saute of snapper with fresh tomato and olive sauce

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This is a simple dish and a great one for those who love garlic. The snapper can be replaced by any fish you like. The butter gives the sauce a really nice silkiness.

For garlic lovers: Saute of snapper with fresh tomato and olive sauce.
For garlic lovers: Saute of snapper with fresh tomato and olive sauce. Photo: William Meppem


8 cloves garlic, peeled

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 x 180g fillets of snapper, skin on

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

100g unsalted butter

50ml good-quality red wine vinegar

3 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced

12 black olives, stones removed, roughly chopped

3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley


Place the garlic in a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Immediately refresh in cold water and repeat until the garlic is tender.

Dry the fish with paper towels and season with sea salt.

Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the fish pieces skin side down and cook for 5 minutes or until the skin is nice and crisp. Turn the fish over and add the garlic. Cook for a further 3 minutes until the fish is about three-quarters done.

Remove the fish and keep it warm; the residual heat will continue to cook the fish as it rests.

Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape the bottom and sides with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Then add the tomatoes, olives and a little sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes then add the remaining butter and whisk until it melts and forms a sauce. Add the parsley and a little freshly ground pepper, then check the seasoning to finish.

Pour a little sauce on each plate and place fish on top. Serve immediately.


• We use thick steaks from larger fish - about 3kg to 5kg. If you use thin fillets, adjust the cooking time downwards to suit.

• Make sure the fish is a little undercooked in the kitchen so it's perfect by the time it gets to the table.



Originally hailing from southern Italy, the fiano grape variety is well-suited to the Australian climate. The 2013 Coriole Fiano ($25) from McLaren Vale is a lively wine with flavours of melon, lemon rind and stone fruits. The texture highlights the purity of the snapper, while the acidity complements the tomatoes.


Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Dominic Smith.

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  • Main Ingredients - Fish, Tomato
  • Cuisine - Italian
  • Course - Dinner, Main-course

1 review so far

  • Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    I cooked this last night and it was fantastic. It is rated as medium but I would say it is definitely on the easy side of medium. Next time I might dial back the butter a little bit and maybe serve some asian style greens with it.

    Date and time
    March 15, 2014, 3:39PM

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