Pan Fried Red Snapper with Tarragon Tartar Sauce

July  2, 2012
1 Rating
Author Notes

I did something I have never done I made this recipe gluten free. I am glad I did. I discovered the breadcrumbs to be amazingly tender, buttery and remained crisp. I chose to use snapper because it, many times, isn't expensive as other fish but walleye is obviously a great choice too when you can find it. —thirschfeld

  • Serves 4
  • For the tarragon tartar sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced cornichons
  • 2 pickled onions from the cornichons jar, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • For the fish
  • 4 six ounce red snapper filets or walleye, skin removed
  • 2 Udi's plain bagels, set out overnight to stale then ground in a food processor and sifted, or plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Cup4Cup gluten free flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
In This Recipe
  1. Combine all the tarragon tartar sauce ingredients into a small bowl. Mix to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper, stir well and taste again. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  2. Place the tartar sauce into the fridge to keep it cool.
  3. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Let it sit out to warm-up to room temp.
  4. To set up your breading station place the breadcrumbs into a small casserole. In another casserole combine the eggs and milk. Whisk them to combine. In yet another small casserole combine the flour with the paprika and garlic powder and mix the flour to distribute the spices.
  5. Place the largest heavy bottomed pan you have over medium heat. (The goal of and success of this dish is to end up with crispy fish. So by no means crowd the fish if you crowd the fish don't blame me for the glop you end up with. If your pan isn't big enough then fry only what fits comfortably in the pan with at least a half inch of space on all sides. When a filet is brown and done remove it to a cooling rack over a sheet tray and keep them warm in a heated 250? F oven while you fry the remaining filets.)
  6. Dredge the filets through the seasoned flour making sure it is coated. Shake off the excess flour back into the casserole. Dip the filets into the egg wash making sure to get egg wash under your fingers where you are holding the filet. Hold the filet above the casserole and let some of the excess drip back. Now set them into the breadcrumbs and make sure all sides are coated. Let them sit in the crumbs until you are ready to fry them.
  7. If the pan has been sitting on the heat forever then cool it down before adding the oil but if it is a heavy bottomed pan the oil should gently shimmer when added, not quake nor smoke, then you can add the butter and watch it foam. Swirl the pan to distribute the butter.
  8. Add the filets, don't crowd them, and brown them on both sides. If for some reason you think, or feel nervous about them browning to fast or not being done in the middle then remove them from the pan and finish them by baking them in a 250? oven.
  9. Serve hot with a dollop of tartar sauce and a wedge of lemon.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Adelucchi
  • adele93
  • thirschfeld
  • Denny
Father, husband, writer, photojournalist and not always in that order.

6 Reviews

Denny April 9, 2020
Love the recipes but, I was looking for a recipe for red Snapper. Red Snapper is one of the expensive fish to buy. Living in Nola and fishing in Florida. I was just taken aback By that. It’s one on of most expensive due to over fishing. Just clarify for the people not used to buying it. Otherwise, great recipe!
Author Comment
thirschfeld April 10, 2020
Are by chance speaking of redfish, Redfish is one of my favorites and yes it was over fished all along the coasts from Key West to NOLA. Snapper is pretty readily available.
Adelucchi May 9, 2014
Thanks for this recipe! Made this last night and followed your lead with quinoa flour and corn flour. I had sour dough crumbs made from left over stale bread. The crumb technique of three breading stations gave a delicious crunchy coating. My husband is not a fish fan but is willing to work on reducing red meat as long as the fish taste good! We are adding this dish to our rotation!
jessfood April 18, 2013
I don't see the measurements for oil and/or butter (for pan frying the fish)...
Author Comment
thirschfeld April 18, 2013
Enough so that you have a 1/16 of an inch or so of oil and a tablespoon of butter
adele93 March 1, 2013
if i use plain breadcrumbs rather than bagels how many grams would be recommended?