Chef's Recipes

Lebanese-style snapper

Michael Bacash recipe for Lebanese-style snapper.

By Michael Bacash
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Lebanese-style snapper
"This dish is Lebanese-peasant done fancy with all the peasant-style flavours you'll find in Lebanese cooking, but with a beautiful piece of fish added," says Bacash. "The trick to not overcooking fish is to be aware that it cooks from the outside inwards and the centre should only cook until it's warm, not hot. If it gets hot in the middle, it will become overcooked from the residual heat. It takes a little practise getting to know this - be conscious of the inside of the fish and not the outside. Until you get it right, you can always get a little paring knife and peek inside the flesh when you think it's ready; it won't damage it too much."


  • 3 onions, 2 sliced into rings, 1 finely chopped
  • 110 ml olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 6 silverbeet leaves, stalks diced, leaves torn
  • 1½ tsp sumac
  • 4 baby snapper fillets (about 180gm each), skin on and pin-boned
  • To serve: coriander, flat-leaf parsley and thinly sliced Spanish onion dressed with a lemon vinaigrette
  • To serve: currants and toasted pine nuts
Tahini dressing
  • 2 tbsp tahini (unhulled or hulled, to your taste)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed


  • 1
    Sauté onion rings in a large saucepan with 2½ tbsp oil over medium-high heat until evenly caramelised (10-12 minutes).
  • 2
    Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until softened without colouring (3-4 minutes). Add silverbeet stalks, sauté until starting to soften (2-3 minutes), then add leaves and cook until wilted (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat, add ½ tsp sumac and season to taste. Keep warm.
  • 3
    For tahini dressing, whisk ingredients and 60ml water in a bowl. Season to taste.
  • 4
    Heat 2 non-stick frying pans over high heat (or work in batches). Add 1 tbsp oil to each. Season snapper with salt and place 2 fillets skin-side down in each pan, shaking to prevent sticking. Press fillets down for 30 seconds to keep flat and cook until golden brown (2-3 minutes), then turn and fry until just warmed through (1-2 minutes).
  • 5
    To serve, spoon silverbeet onto plates, place fish on top, put an even layer of caramelised onion on top, then herb salad, scatter with currants, pine nuts and remaining sumac, and spoon on a little tahini dressing.


Drink Suggestion: 2015 Domaine Simha “Sanskrit” Gamay Noir, Tasmania. Drink suggestion by Fiona Perkins