Fried Red Snapper (Chillo Frito) is a mild tasting fish with a light flaky texture. We tend to fry this fish, making it crispy on the outside and very moist inside. It can also be grilled and baked. The Fried Red Snapper (Chillo Frito) is usually topped with a savory tomato-oil based sauce known as Mojo Isleño. This sauce can also be served on the side as a dipping sauce.
This year I consumed plenty of red snapper in Puerto Rico. This fish is served whole and is considered a staple in our culture. Many individuals bread the whole fish before frying but I prefer to season it with just a few basic ingredients so that you can savor the meat of the fish.
Describing the Red Snapper!
This is wild caught Caribbean red snapper that weighs at least 1 pound 5 ounces. The average weight for consumption is 1 to 3 pounds and has a rosy red color. The red snapper is considered a low-fat and lean fish. It also has many health benefits like omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals. This fish has been cleaned, descaled and rinsed in cold water.
NOTE: There are other types of red snapper and they can weigh up to 50 pounds.
Scoring and Seasoning the Red Snapper!
Pat completely dry the fish with paper towels.
NOTE: Make sure your hands are clean when handling meat or fish. I normally wear gloves but since my gloves are too big, I would not be able to clearly demonstrate how to cut and season the fish.
With a sharp knife, make 3 to 4 diagonal or vertical slits on both sides of fish so that the seasoning can be absorbed for better flavor.
Season the fish with salt, black pepper and garlic powder on each side. Rub the seasonings on the fish and into the slits that we just made. Use the amount of seasonings according to your taste.
NOTE: I used approximately 1.5 teaspoons of each condiment.
We also want to season the cavity of the fish with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. With your fingers, rub the seasoning inside the cavity.
We just finished seasoning the red snapper. Since this fish is mild in flavor with a delicate taste, I normally marinate the fish for just 15 minutes. However, you can marinade the fish for a much longer time in the refrigerator.
NOTE: I always keep the fish in the refrigerator for thawing and/or marinating.
Frying the Red Snapper!
In a 12-skillet, heat 5 cups of vegetable oil to a temperature of 350°F.
With a pair of tongs, add the fish to the skillet and fry until it turns a golden-brown color on one side. This should take approximately 4 minutes.
After 4 minutes of frying, carefully turn the fish to the other side. This fish is very firm so you will be able to turn it over whole without the fish breaking apart.
Cook for another 4 minutes.
We are done frying the fish for a total of 8 minutes (4 minutes on each side). Carefully remove the fish from the skillet and onto a baking pan lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
NOTE: As the fish is cooking, I tend to submerge the tail end of the fish into the hot oil to cook with a pair of tongs.
Checking the Fried Red Snapper for Doneness!
Remove paper towels once the excess oil is absorbed. The fish is completely done when you see that the flesh is no longer translucent inside the slits and has an off-white color. You can also check the internal temperature of the fish with a thermometer for doneness. The internal temperature should reach 140 to 145°F.
The Fried Red Snapper (Chillo Frito) should easily flake when you insert a fork into slits. Look how flaky.
Before serving, squeeze ½ of a lemon on the top of the fish.
Serving the Fried Red Snapper!
The Fried Red Snapper has a golden-brown color and is usually accompanied with tostones (double fried green plantains). This fish is so moist and flaky. It does not require a lot of seasoning to have so much flavor. It is so delicious that many times I prefer just eating the fried fish without any sauce.
Our traditional Mojo Isleño can also be served on the side as a dipping sauce. Click on link on how to prepare our Traditional Island Sauce (Mojo Isleño).
Other individuals prefer the Fried Red Snapper (Chillo Frito) with the sauce on top. For your information, we also serve other sauces to complement this dish.
Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Prepare Fried Red Snapper (Chillo Frito)!
Recipe and Nutritional Facts!
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.Print
Fried Red Snapper (Chillo Frito) is a mild tasting fish with a light flaky texture, making it crispy on the outside and very moist inside. It does not require a lot of seasoning to have so much flavor. Many different sauces are served to complement this dish. However, the most common sauce that is served with the Fried Red Sapper is the Mojo Isleño.
- 1 Red Snapper (weighing 1 pound 5 ounces) cleaned, descaled and rinsed in cold water
- Lite salt, black pepper and garlic powder, according to taste
- 5 cups of vegetable oil for frying
- Pat dry red snapper completely with paper towels.
- Make 3 to 4 diagonal slits on top of red snapper on both sides with a sharp knife.
- Rub the seasonings, according to taste, on top of fish and inside the cavity. Marinate for 15 minutes.
- Heat oil to 350°F.
- Add fish to skillet and fry until golden brown on one side, approximately 4 minutes.
- Carefully turn fish over with a pair of tongs after 4 minutes of frying.
- Fry for another 4 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from skillet and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Squeeze ½ of a lemon on the top of the fish before serving.
- Serve with tostones.
Check the internal temperature of the fish with a thermometer for doneness. The internal temperature should reach 140 to 145°F.
- Category: Seafood
- Method: Frying
- Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Keywords: fried red snapper, chillo frito