The redfish species is widely available across the globe and is known for its meat, bulky texture, and flavor.
These fish are used to make hundreds of recipes across many cuisines! They can be fried, broiled, braised, and cooked in the oven. But what makes this fish better than other species and why is it so widely used?
What is redfish? The redfish family consists of several species of fish that dwell deep beneath the ocean. They are prized for their flavor, nutrition, flesh, and meat. They are also easy to catch, which is partly why they are so readily available and cheaper than other alternatives.
Read below to learn more about the different types of redfish, how they taste, how to cook them, and a few great recipes to get the most out of their flavor!
The Redfish Species
The ocean is full of different types of fish but one name that continually pops up in menus is the redfish or “Red Snapper”.
Beloved for its flavor and versatility, red snappers make for excellent candidates when it comes to making all types of fish recipes.
Redfish pertains to more than a dozen species of fish. Each has a defining quality: some are large, some are thicker, some can be bonier while others may be flatter.
However, almost all of them have one thing in common: they all have a hint of red in them, hence the name!
These fish have bulky meat which can be prepared in different ways. The meat itself is non-oily and has a soft texture compared to other fish which makes it highly adaptable in different cuisines and cooking methods.
How Does Redfish Taste?
Redfish has very smooth and lightly chewy meat that tastes mildly fishy and has a subtle sweet flavor. It can be smoked and marinated in different ways, which can lend a lot of flavors to the meat too.
Generally, redfish meat can absorb flavors without the need to extensively cook it. For example, you can get quite a lot of flavors using simple seasonings by just marinating the meat for 30 minutes.
Since redfish has a subtly sweet and fishy flavor, you can pair it with spices, herbs, or just plain salt.
We recommend that you start with the Red Snapper or Crimson Snapper to get an idea of what this species has to offer.
As mentioned, there are several ways to cook redfish. Here are some popular methods:
This method is great for any type of fish but it particularly takes redfish to the next level!
A little spicy marination with or without tempura/flour batter can transcend its flavor. Since redfish have thin skin, hot oil will easily permeate the outer layer and make its way inside where it will add flavor to the meat.
Redfish can be both shallow and deep-fried. To shallow fry, just marinate the fish with salt, red chili, butter, and herbs like oregano or basil. Cook the fish on both sides until you get a beautiful sear and crispy exterior.
To deep-fry, we recommend going with a spicy marinade with lemon juice, some herbs, and a simple flour batter to make crispy fried redfish.
This is another way to get the most out of redfish meat. Braising will bring out that distinct fishy and sweet flavor while also glazing the flavors from the ingredients in the pot.
Many expert chefs use this method to cook redfish because it allows them to sear and then deglaze the fish with wine.
This means that not only do you get that beautiful caramelization on the fish but you can also baste the meat with the sauces for an even extra kick of flavors!
Any redfish will work great for this method but the Queen Snapper, in particular, will be a great starting point as it has a bulky and elongated body that is perfect for braising the fish whole.
This is our favorite method of cooking redfish. Grilling requires some expertise because fish meat tends to cook faster and you wouldn’t want the fish to burn or become overly tender.
It should only be grilled enough to get a light-charr on both sides while also being steam-cooked on the inside.
The wood or coals that you use to cook the fish will play a huge role in this method too.
Try using different types of woods like oak, maple, hickory, or applewood to get an added earthy, sweet, and smokey flavor. You can also use coal to give the fish a stronger smokey flavor.
Also, you don’t have to rely on heavy marinades for this method either. Simple seasonings along with a drizzle of olive oil are the best way to cook a healthy seafood meal!
You can get quite creative with this method! Oven cooking is perhaps the best way to seal in the flavors and to get tender and juicy fish meat.
You can use any type of marinade. We recommend going with a mix of herbs, ginger, garlic, and other basic seasonings. You may even broil the fish at high heat to get that wonderful brown color near the end of the cooking process.
If you want to take it a step further then we recommend cooking the fish in the oven and then deglazing it with dry sake to tenderize and create an excellent sauce base for the fish meat.
You can also throw in a few pieces of butter to enhance the aroma and flavor of the recipe too.
Louisiana Grilled Redfish
Here’s what you’ll need for this incredible dish:
- 4.5 lb. redfish, whole and properly cleaned
- ¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 juiced satsumas
- 2 shallots
- 1 fresh garlic clove
- 450g butter
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp spring onion, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp salt to taste
- Drizzle olive oil over the fish so that it is completely oiled. Now, add salt and pepper and let the fish sit for about 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, fire up a griddle pan and sear the fish on high heat until the skin crisps then turn the heat off.
- Now for the sauce, take a saucepan and pour in white wine, satsuma juice, garlic, and shallots. Cook until the mixture is reduced to half.
- Filter the contents of the pan and discard any large pieces. This will be the sauce base!
- Add butter and mix until completely homogenous.
- Add the fresh herbs and salt and cook until you have a creamy consistency. The sauce should be smooth and not lumpy. If you find any pieces of shallot then either break it down with a spoon or remove it from the pan.
- Pour the sauce over the cooked fish and garnish it with fresh coriander.
Deep-Fried Redfish Recipe
This redfish recipe will prove to be a worthy and healthier contender for your deep-fried fast-food needs.
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup milk
- 4 redfish fillets (5–6-ounce pieces)
- ¾ cup canola oil
- Marinade the fish fillets with salt, paprika, cayenne, white pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and flour. Keep refrigerated in a bowl for at least 1-2 hours.
- In a medium-sized bowl, crack an egg and add milk. Whisk together to create a dredging base.
- In a large container, put in the flour and the fillets and gently coat the fish on all sides. Remember, this isn’t fried chicken, be very gentle with the fish to avoid breaking the fillets.
- Once fully covered in flour, dip the fish fillet in the egg and milk mixture then coat again in the flour container. Give the fillet a light tap to shake off any excess flour. Repeat this step for all the fillets.
- After the fillets are coated, heat a large heavy-bottomed pot and pour in the oil. Make sure that the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F.
- Take one fillet at a time and gently drop it away from you into the pan. A great way to do this is to bring the fish near the oil and gently slide it off to avoid splashes and to prevent the flour batter from getting off.
- Fry for 5 minutes on each side until you get a wonderful golden-brown color. Take the fish fillet out and quickly season with a pinch of salt.
Do not drain the excess oil using a paper towel as it may soften the texture of the fish. Always use a wire rack. Serve with any side or dip of your choice!
Here’s a fun way to fix up a quick dinner meal using redfish and some cool cooking techniques!
- ¾ cups dry sake or dry sherry
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp cornstarch.
- 1 whole, cleaned, red snapper (2 lb.)
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1 piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (2-inches)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
- 3-4 scallions, trimmed and cut
- Steamed rice (optional)
- In a container, mix wine, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and 2 tsp of cornstarch and mix until everything has dissolved.
- Clean and dry the fish with paper towels and make 3-inch sliced incisions across the fish on each side. Add the remaining 1 tbsp cornstarch over the fish.
- Heat a seasoned wok or large pan until it is smoking.
- Gently add oil and wait for about 30 seconds. Now add ginger and garlic and turn the heat down. Remove the fried ginger and garlic from the oil as soon as they have a golden color.
- With a spoon, carefully move the oil around the wok or pan to lubricate every side. Gently slide off the fish into the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Before flipping, make sure that the fish doesn’t stick to the bottom. Tug at the pan to see if the fish moves, then flip and cook the other side for 5 minutes.
- Give the fish one more flip and add in the fried ginger and garlic along with the wine mixture, peppers, and scallions. Turn the heat down and let it simmer.
- With a spoon, baste the fish with the hot oil and wine mixture until it has reduced and thickened. This should take about 3-4 minutes.
- Take the fish out and place it on a plate and serve with butter or garlic rice!
This method is the healthiest and easiest way to cook any type of redfish. It brings out the flavors from the meat and allows the marinade to seep in as well!
Here is what you need:
- 1.5 lb. redfish fillets
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp finely chopped onions
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Lemon wedges
- Prepare the fish by pat drying it with a paper towel. Make sure there is no added moisture on the fillets. If you are using a frozen fish, then make sure it is thawed in the fridge or microwave.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly lubricate the base of the baking pan using butter or oil and put in the fillets—the baking pan should be large enough to hold all the fillets!
- In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with lemon juice, onion, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Pat dry the fish one more time then add the contents of the bowl to the fillets. Make sure you cover every side of the fish. You can also use a brush to evenly spread the marinade.
- Bake the fish for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 145°F.
- Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh coriander. Serve with either mayo sauce, rémoulade sauce, or boiled rice.
Now that you know what redfish is and how to cook it in several ways, here are some related questions!
Is redfish healthier than other fish?
Redfish is considered to be one of the healthiest fish because it is high in protein and has very little fat. A raw 100g fillet will provide you with 1.3g of fat, a whopping 17g of protein, and 0g of carbs!
Of course, these figures may change with additional ingredients, but if you choose to grill or bake this fish then you can get almost all of its nutrients intact!
Keep in mind that while this species is considered to be nutritionally balanced, it may not offer the same high omega 3-fatty acid levels found in other fish.
Does redfish contain a lot of mercury?
No, redfish have relatively low levels of mercury and are considered to be safe to eat. You can also inquire about different types of redfish from a local fishery to learn more about the nutritional benefits of this species.
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