Pan Fried Red Snapper With Tarragon Tartar Sauce

October  4, 2022
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
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 and buttery, and they 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

Test Kitchen Notes

If you're looking for a gluten-free, pan-fried fish recipe, this one is most definitely for you. This has all the best-tasting parts of a classic fried fish, but using Udi's plain bagels and gluten-free flour means anyone can enjoy this dish. Any time you buy some red snapper at the store, you'll reach for this recipe. The tartar sauce that goes with it couldn't be easier to make as well. You do need cornichons, as well as the pickled onions from the cornichons jar, but otherwise it's just mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh tarragon, and salt and pepper. Can't have fried fish without a tartar sauce, and the tarragon adds brightness and color to your plate.

We think using Udi's bagels, which sit out overnight to become stale, really help put this recipe over the top, but you can also use plain breadcrumbs if you don't want to go through grinding and sifting the crumbs. But if you have the time and can prepare ahead, we definitely say go for it. But gluten-free breadcrumbs are very easy to make at home, and you can make a big batch to store in a container that can be ready for you whenever you may need it. And keep in mind that the goal of and success of this dish is to end up with crispy fish. If you crowd the fish, you won't like the end result. If your pan isn't big enough, fry only what fits comfortably in the pan with at least a half inch of space on all sides. —The Editors

What You'll Need
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Pan Fried Red Snapper With Tarragon Tartar Sauce
  • Tarragon Tartar Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons
  • 2 pickled onions from the cornichons jar, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Fish and Assembly:
  • 4 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets or walleye, skin removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Udi's plain bagels, set out overnight to stale, then ground in a food processor and sifted, or plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup Cup4Cup gluten-free flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Neutral oil, for frying
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. in a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cornichons, pickled onions, tarragon, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, taste for seasonings, then stir again to combine. Place in the fridge to keep cool.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Let sit to warm up to room temperature.
  3. Place the breadcrumbs in a small casserole dish or shallow bowl. In another casserole or bowl, whisk the egg and milk to combine. In yet another small casserole or bowl, combine the flour, paprika, and garlic powder.
  4. Heat the oven 250°F to keep the fish warm while you fry. Dredge the fish in the seasoned flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Dip into the egg wash, making sure to get the egg wash under your fingers where you're holding the fish, shaking off any excess. Dredge in the breadcrumbs, making sure all sides are coated. Let sit in the crumbs until you're ready to fry.
  5. Heat a large heavy pan over medium heat. Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the hot pan. The oil should gently shimmer, not quake nor smoke. Add the butter, swirling the pan to distribute, and heat until foamy.
  6. Fry the fish on both sides. If you think or feel nervous about them browning too fast or not being done in the middle, let them finish baking in the oven. Transfer the fish to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, then place in the oven to keep warm.
  7. Serve hot with a dollop of tartar sauce and a lemon wedge.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Adelucchi
  • adele93
  • thirschfeld
  • Denny

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!
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)...
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?