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Perfect match: spiced snapper with savagnin

Australian Gourmet Traveller wine match recipe for spiced whole snapper with tomato and cucumber salad.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 6
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking plus marinating
Spiced whole snapper with tomato and cucumber salad
Spiced whole snapper with tomato and cucumber salad

You are familiar with the story by now, I'm sure. Last year, Australian vignerons were shocked to discover that the white grape growing in their vineyards that they thought was the trendy Spanish albariño was in fact the obscure French savagnin. The growers and makers have since got on with picking the grapes and making the wine - whatever it was called. As it happens, savagnin is also known in parts of Europe as white traminer - which makes sense in retrospect as many of the wines made from this variety here in Australia have been exotic yet fresh, like a cross between fat gewürztraminer and steely riesling. Indeed, many of the Australian savagnins in bottle shops are more traminer-like than the Australian gewürztraminers. And this is exactly the kind of white you need with this dish. The wine's delicate perfume will tackle the aromatic spice rub, while its dry finish is wonderfully matched to the rich flesh of the fish.

Aromatic and deliciously dry, this white has the guts to tackle the zingy flavours and rich flesh of this roast snapper.


  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ cinnamon quill
  • 1 star anise
  • 20 gm (4cm piece) ginger, finely grated
  • 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 long green chillies, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) coriander
  • 1 lime, rind finely grated, thinly sliced
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 snapper (about 2.5kg), scaled and cleaned
Tomato and cucumber salad
  • 200 ml white wine vinegar
  • 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 500 gm vine-ripened plum truss tomatoes, halved
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, cut into 2cm pieces
  • ½ Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander, coarsely chopped


  • 1
    Dry-roast coriander and cumin separately until fragrant (1-2 minutes), reserve half the cumin seeds for salad, then finely grind remainder in a spice grinder with cloves, cinnamon and star anise. Process remaining ingredients (except snapper and sliced lime) in a food processor, add dry-roasted spices and combine to form a paste. Rub snapper with paste, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate (6 hours-overnight).
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 200C. Place lime slices inside snapper cavity. Wrap snapper in aluminium foil, place on a roasting tray and cook until just cooked through (35-40 minutes).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for tomato and cucumber salad, combine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then simmer until slightly thickened (3-4 minutes) and set aside to cool. Combine tomato, cucumber, onion, garlic and reserved cumin seeds in a bowl. Pour over vinegar mixture, then refrigerate until cold. Stir through coriander, season to taste and serve with snapper.


Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
Drink suggestion by Max Allen