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Roasted Snapper with Sweet and Sour Citrus Reduction

roasted snapper with citrus reduction

Laura Frankel shares an elegant winter supper recipe with an aigre doux sauce (not your mother's sweet and sour).

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


  • 3 cups freshly squeezed citrus juices (I use a combination of orange, lemon, lime and blood orange - do not use a pasteurized bottled juice, the flavor will not be as fresh and citrusy)
  • 1/2 Cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 4 6- ounce snapper filets, skin on (if snapper is not available you can use striped or black bass or grouper)
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, lightly cracked with a kitchen mallet or pulsed in a spice grinder (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Suggested garnishes - sliced kumquats, citrus supremes, fresh herbs


  1. Stir vinegar and sugar in heavy small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil (do not stir) until syrup is dark at edge of pan and bubbles break thickly on surface, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  2. Carefully add juice and stock and boil until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Strain sauce into another small saucepan. Add the zest and simmer until sauce is reduced to 1/2 cup.
  3. Cool the sauce if storing and store covered in the refrigerator or if using immediately - keep warm over a low flame.
  4. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil.
  5. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and lightly rub the skin side with the coriander seeds if using. Place the fish, skin side DOWN into the greased pan. Do not touch it! (fussing with the fish will cause it to stick to the pan and may tear the delicate skin) Brown the skin side of the fish for 3-5 minutes until the skin is browned and the fish releases easily from the pan. Test this by peaking under a corner of the fish filet. Once the fish skin is browned, place the fish on a parchment lined baking sheet, Skin side UP.
  6. Roast the fish for 5-6 minutes. Drizzle with sauce and serve with gnocchi, potatoes or rice. Garnish with sliced kumquats, citrus supremes and fresh herbs.