Barbecued snapper with capsicum

Barbecued snapper with capsicum

Orata alla griglia con peperoni

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

The Ionian and Adriatic seas meet at the tip of the heel of Puglia and provide an abundance of fish, including orata, or snapper. All year round the fishermen haul vast loads of fish and sell directly from the ports that dot the coastline. At Mola di Bari on a recent visit, Vivienne and I wandered around the port, which was a hub of activity. There were men in caps smoking, drinking strong coffee, noisily playing cards and discussing ‘world politics’ (or football, in other words). The fish in this recipe is barbecued. We love barbecuing as it‘s such a laid-back way to cook and entertain family and friends, and it leaves little mess in the kitchen.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5-2kg whole snapper, cleaned
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 lemons


Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
6 assorted capsicums, cut into large dice
400g tinned peeled tomatoes, quartered
handful pitted black olives
2 bay leaves
pinch sugar
80ml red wine vinegar, or more if necessary
handful fresh oregano
or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


  1. For the peperoni, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion and whole garlic cloves until soft. Add the capsicums, tomatoes, olives, bay leaves, sugar, red wine vinegar and 100 ml water. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes, then add the oregano and parsley. Check the pan and add more water if the capsicum and tomato look too dry. (There should always be some liquid in the pan.) Cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened but are not mushy.
  2. Season the peperoni well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and allow to cool. Transfer to a jar if you want to store it, or serve at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  3. To prepare the fish, rinse it inside and out and dry with paper towel.
  4. Make 3 diagonal shallow cuts approximately 1 cm deep in the side of the fish and rub generously with olive oil and salt.
  5. Cut one of the lemons into rough wedges and place these in the cavity of the fish.
  6. Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface and place a piece of baking paper, the same size as the fish, on top of that.
  7. Preheat a barbecue with a hood to medium. If you want to cook the fish in the oven, preheat it to 200°C or 180°C for a fan-forced oven.
  8. Place the fish on the baking paper and enclose the fish, securing the foil around the fish. Place the fish on the barbecue grill and close the hood. Reduce the heat to low and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Turn the fish over halfway through cooking time.
  9. Check the fish by carefully opening up the parcel and inserting a knife into the flesh. The flesh should be flaky and white. Take the fish parcel off the barbecue and place it on a cool baking tray to rest for a few moments.
  10. Open the parcel and carefully place the fish on a large platter. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and place around the fish. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with the prepared peperoni. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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