Snapper with Green Olive Tapenade

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

The grill rack must be as clean as possible to avoid the fish sticking to it. Give it an especially vigorous scrubbing with a grill brush before adding the fish. Lightly coating the fish with oil helps to discourage sticking, but don’t use so much oil that it drips and causes flare-ups.


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 snapper fillets, each about 5 oz.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Make the tapenade
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. If using a gas grill, turn one burner on low and the other burner(s) on high. If using a charcoal grill, spread the coals into a slope.

In a food processor, finely chop the garlic. Add the olives, capers, anchovies, lemon zest, the 2 Tbs. olive oil and the red pepper flakes and pulse until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Alternatively, mince the garlic, olives, capers and anchovies together with a sharp knife. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the lemon zest, olive oil and red pepper flakes.

Grill the snapper
Pat the snapper dry with paper towels. Lightly brush the fillets on both sides with olive oil, then season with salt and black pepper. Lightly oil the grill rack. Place the snapper on the cooler area of the grill rack and cover the grill. Cook, turning once, until the snapper looks opaque when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 6 minutes total.

Transfer the fillets to individual plates, top each with a spoonful of the tapenade and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Grilling, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2007).

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