Food & Drink

Whole Roasted Red Snapper

Serves 2

An Italy-meets-Georgia recipe from chef Hugh Acheson

Photo: Emily B. Hall

The Florence is an Italian restaurant and coffee shop and chef Hugh Acheson’s fifth Georgia restaurant.

As the name hints, the restaurant combines classic Italian cuisine with Georgia-grown ingredients. “There’s a beautiful kinship between pure Southern food and Italian food,” Acheson says. “Just simple dishes made with great ingredients.” Helmed by chef Kyle Jacovino, formerly the sous chef at Acheson’s Atlanta outpost, Empire State South, the kitchen at the Florence turns out traditional Neapolitan-style pizzas, house-made pastas, and plenty of local veggies, along with meat and fish options such as this roasted red snapper.

Editor’s note: This recipe was published in 2014, three years before the Florence closed its doors. For the latest from Acheson, visit his website.


    • 1 1/2 lb. whole red snapper, cleaned, scaled and gutted. (If snapper isn't available, you can also substitute black sea bass.)

    • 1 lemon

    • 1 orange

    • 1/4 bulb fennel, thinly sliced

    • 5 flat leaf parsley sprigs

    • 1 sprig rosemary

    • 1/4 cup canola oil

    • 1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter

    • 1 1/2 to 2 cups salmorigio (recipe below)

    • 2 tbsp. Maldon sea salt

    • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • Salmoriglio

    • 1 lemon, zested

    • 1 orange, zested

    • 2 cloves garlic, sliced

    • 1 1/2 tsp. chile flakes

    • 1 small Serrano pepper, chopped

    • 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

    • 2 tbsp. kosher salt

    • 2 cups olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Thinly slice 3 rounds of lemon, 3 rounds of orange, and the fennel. Set aside the remaining lemon for later use. Layer the lemon and orange slices along with the fennel, parsley, and rosemary inside the fish and press to secure flat.

  3. Place a 12-inch cast-iron or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the canola oil and heat until it comes to a slight smoke. Add the whole fish and sear on one side for 1 minute. Carefully flip the fish and add the butter. Carefully tilt the pan and baste the fish with the butter for 15 to 30 seconds. Place the pan into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and pour 1 cup of the salmoriglio over it and let rest for 3 minutes. Serve with the sea salt, olive oil (for dipping), the remaining lemon cut into slices, and the remaining salmoriglio.

  4. For the Salmoriglio:

    Place the lemon and orange zest, garlic, chile flakes, Serrano, parsley, and salt into a food processor and pulse until combined. Run the machine on low and drizzle in the olive oil. The texture of the sauce should be quite loose, so add more olive oil if necessary. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Recipe from the Florence in Savannah, Georgia