Barbecued snapper with black beans and salted chillies

Neil Perry
Barbecued snapper with black beans and salted chillies.
Barbecued snapper with black beans and salted chillies. Photo: William Meppem

There's nothing quite like the taste of succulent whole snapper, fresh from the barbecue. For best results, prepare the salted chillies a few days ahead of time.


5 long red chillies, coarsely chopped

5 tsp sea salt

3 tbsp fermented black beans

1½ tbsp white sugar

1½ tbsp julienned ginger

1½ tbsp Shaoxing wine

2kg whole snapper, gutted and scaled

3 spring onions, julienned

5 tbsp peanut oil


For salted chillies, pulse chillies and salt in a food processor until combined, then transfer to a small, sterile container. Stand at room temperature for 3 days, then store in refrigerator until required.

Combine salted chillies, black beans, sugar, ginger and Shaoxing wine.

Score the fish down to the bone near the head, then make about four more cuts along the body of the fish, at equal distance but not as deep. This will help the fish cook evenly. Tear off 4 large pieces of foil and lay out with edges overlapping to form a sheet large enough to wrap up the fish.

Splash 1 tbsp oil on the foil, then evenly spread half the black bean and chilli mixture over the middle. Place fish on top, spread the remaining mixture on the fish, and drizzle with another tbsp oil. Wrap securely and seal the foil like an envelope.

Preheat the barbecue to medium. Place the fish parcel onto the barbecue. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning halfway. To check if it's done, carefully unwrap at the head and check that the flesh is only just coming away from the bone. Wrap up again and leave to rest in a warm place for 5-10 minutes.

Unwrap the fish and carefully transfer to a serving plate, pouring any resting juices over the top. Cover the fish with the julienned spring onions. Heat the remaining peanut oil in a pan until hot, then pour the fragrant oil over the fish.

Photography William Meppem, Jennifer soo Styling Hannah Meppem Food preparation Nick Banbury