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Snapper with White Wine, Green Olives and Parsley

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  • 13 kg snapper, gilled, gutted and scaled
  • 250 ml (1 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500 ml (2 cups) fish stock
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 30 Bosane olives, cheeks cut from the pit (see below)
  • 500 ml (2 cups) Vernaccia di Oristano (see below)
  • 150 gm butter, diced
  • Small handful finely sliced flat-leaf parsley leaves


  1.  Remove snapper from fridge 30-40 minutes before cooking. Cover and set aside in a cool place to come to room temperature.
  2. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, trim fins and tail. Thoroughly rinse belly cavity, removing any blood, then pat dry inside and out. Score snapper on one side, making 5 or 6 diagonal cuts just through to the bone. Sprinkle both sides of the fish generously with sea salt flakes, patting it into the skin.
  3. Preheat oven to 220C. Heat a large heavy-based roasting tin on the stovetop over medium heat. Pour in oil and, when hot, carefully place fish in tin, scored-side down. Cook until skin is crisp (about 6 minutes), then turn and cook for a further 4 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place stock in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  5. Scatter garlic and olives over fish, add wine and bring to the boil. Add hot fish stock, cover tightly with a double layer of foil and cook in oven, basting frequently, until fish is cooked through (about 25 minutes). Check the flesh where the fish is scored: the flesh near the bone at the thickest part of the fish should be white. Remove from oven, place fish on a platter, then cover loosely with foil and set aside in a warm place while you make the sauce. Place roasting tin on stove top over high heat, bring cooking juices to the boil and boil until reduced by a third. Whisk in the butter. Stir in parsley and spoon sauce over the fish. Serve hot. 

Note Bosane olives are large green olives from Bosa, a small town on the west coast of Sardinia. If they’re unavailable, use Sicilian green olives.

Vernaccia di Oristano is a white wine made from an indigenous Sardinian grape.

If it’s unavailable, use another dry white wine.

This recipe is from the September 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

A Sardinian Cookbook by Giovanni Pilu and Roberta Muir is published by Lantern, $49.99, hbk. This extract has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.

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