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Salt Shell Snapper With Black Bean Chili

  • Yield: 4 main-course servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 whole red snapper or bass, scaled and gutted (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups kosher (coarse) salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Black Bean Chili


  • Preheat the oven to 500?F.
  • Spread the oil on a baking sheet large enough to hold both fish. Place the fish in the oil and turn them to coat both sides of each fish.
  • Sprinkle the onions, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper in the cavities and over the outsides of the fish, using half of the seasonings for each fish.
  • Encase each fish with 1 cup of the coarse salt, covering all surfaces and forming a shell, or crust. Bake until the crust is hard, for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • While the fish is baking, prepare the Black Bean Chili, and keep warm.
  • Break the crust by tapping gently with a knife. Brush and peel away the coarse salt. Carefully separate the head, then remove the top half of each fish from the center bone, and remove the bone itself and any other bones that are visible.
  • To serve, mound a generous 1/3 cup of the chili on each of 4 plates and place 1/2 fish on top of the succotash. Be careful of bones.